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Sample records for food webs change

  1. Soil food web changes during spontaneous succession at post mining sites: a possible ecosystem engineering effect on food web organization?

    PubMed

    Frouz, Jan; Thébault, Elisa; Pižl, Václav; Adl, Sina; Cajthaml, Tomáš; Baldrián, Petr; Háněl, Ladislav; Starý, Josef; Tajovský, Karel; Materna, Jan; Nováková, Alena; de Ruiter, Peter C

    2013-01-01

    Parameters characterizing the structure of the decomposer food web, biomass of the soil microflora (bacteria and fungi) and soil micro-, meso- and macrofauna were studied at 14 non-reclaimed 1- 41-year-old post-mining sites near the town of Sokolov (Czech Republic). These observations on the decomposer food webs were compared with knowledge of vegetation and soil microstructure development from previous studies. The amount of carbon entering the food web increased with succession age in a similar way as the total amount of C in food web biomass and the number of functional groups in the food web. Connectance did not show any significant changes with succession age, however. In early stages of the succession, the bacterial channel dominated the food web. Later on, in shrub-dominated stands, the fungal channel took over. Even later, in the forest stage, the bacterial channel prevailed again. The best predictor of fungal bacterial ratio is thickness of fermentation layer. We argue that these changes correspond with changes in topsoil microstructure driven by a combination of plant organic matter input and engineering effects of earthworms. In early stages, soil is alkaline, and a discontinuous litter layer on the soil surface promotes bacterial biomass growth, so the bacterial food web channel can dominate. Litter accumulation on the soil surface supports the development of the fungal channel. In older stages, earthworms arrive, mix litter into the mineral soil and form an organo-mineral topsoil, which is beneficial for bacteria and enhances the bacterial food web channel.

  2. Does cadmium pollution change trophic interactions in rockpool food webs?

    SciTech Connect

    Koivisto, S.; Arner, M.; Kautsky, N.

    1997-06-01

    The authors studied the regulation of phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass in rockpool food webs under chronic cadmium pollution. Experimental food webs with two and three trophic levels were composed of phytoplankton, small-bodied zooplankton (Chydorus sphaericus, Cyclops sp., and rotifers), Daphnia magna, and Notonecta sp., a zooplanktivorous predator. Every food web received a control and cadmium treatment allowing a separate study of cadmium and predation effects. After a 3-week stabilization period, cadmium and Notonecta were added and changes in primary productivity, chlorophyll, zooplankton species composition, and biomass were followed during 8 weeks. The results showed that phytoplankton and Daphnia were consumer regulated in both control and cadmium treatments, although resource availability ultimately determined the biomass at each trophic level. Daphnia was the only zooplankton species that reduced phytoplankton and also the only species that was eliminated by Notonecta predation. Notonecta had an indirect positive impact on phytoplankton biomass that increased after the extinction of Daphnia. Cadmium significantly reduced phytoplankton and Daphnia but did not change the trophic interactions between them, i.e., Daphnia and chlorophyll were significantly negatively correlated both in the control and cadmium treatments. Cadmium did not affect the relationship between Daphnia and Notonecta.

  3. Soil food web changes during spontaneous succession at post mining sites: a possible ecosystem engineering effect on food web organization?

    PubMed

    Frouz, Jan; Thébault, Elisa; Pižl, Václav; Adl, Sina; Cajthaml, Tomáš; Baldrián, Petr; Háněl, Ladislav; Starý, Josef; Tajovský, Karel; Materna, Jan; Nováková, Alena; de Ruiter, Peter C

    2013-01-01

    Parameters characterizing the structure of the decomposer food web, biomass of the soil microflora (bacteria and fungi) and soil micro-, meso- and macrofauna were studied at 14 non-reclaimed 1- 41-year-old post-mining sites near the town of Sokolov (Czech Republic). These observations on the decomposer food webs were compared with knowledge of vegetation and soil microstructure development from previous studies. The amount of carbon entering the food web increased with succession age in a similar way as the total amount of C in food web biomass and the number of functional groups in the food web. Connectance did not show any significant changes with succession age, however. In early stages of the succession, the bacterial channel dominated the food web. Later on, in shrub-dominated stands, the fungal channel took over. Even later, in the forest stage, the bacterial channel prevailed again. The best predictor of fungal bacterial ratio is thickness of fermentation layer. We argue that these changes correspond with changes in topsoil microstructure driven by a combination of plant organic matter input and engineering effects of earthworms. In early stages, soil is alkaline, and a discontinuous litter layer on the soil surface promotes bacterial biomass growth, so the bacterial food web channel can dominate. Litter accumulation on the soil surface supports the development of the fungal channel. In older stages, earthworms arrive, mix litter into the mineral soil and form an organo-mineral topsoil, which is beneficial for bacteria and enhances the bacterial food web channel. PMID:24260281

  4. Soil Food Web Changes during Spontaneous Succession at Post Mining Sites: A Possible Ecosystem Engineering Effect on Food Web Organization?

    PubMed Central

    Frouz, Jan; Thébault, Elisa; Pižl, Václav; Adl, Sina; Cajthaml, Tomáš; Baldrián, Petr; Háněl, Ladislav; Starý, Josef; Tajovský, Karel; Materna, Jan; Nováková, Alena; de Ruiter, Peter C.

    2013-01-01

    Parameters characterizing the structure of the decomposer food web, biomass of the soil microflora (bacteria and fungi) and soil micro-, meso- and macrofauna were studied at 14 non-reclaimed 1– 41-year-old post-mining sites near the town of Sokolov (Czech Republic). These observations on the decomposer food webs were compared with knowledge of vegetation and soil microstructure development from previous studies. The amount of carbon entering the food web increased with succession age in a similar way as the total amount of C in food web biomass and the number of functional groups in the food web. Connectance did not show any significant changes with succession age, however. In early stages of the succession, the bacterial channel dominated the food web. Later on, in shrub-dominated stands, the fungal channel took over. Even later, in the forest stage, the bacterial channel prevailed again. The best predictor of fungal bacterial ratio is thickness of fermentation layer. We argue that these changes correspond with changes in topsoil microstructure driven by a combination of plant organic matter input and engineering effects of earthworms. In early stages, soil is alkaline, and a discontinuous litter layer on the soil surface promotes bacterial biomass growth, so the bacterial food web channel can dominate. Litter accumulation on the soil surface supports the development of the fungal channel. In older stages, earthworms arrive, mix litter into the mineral soil and form an organo-mineral topsoil, which is beneficial for bacteria and enhances the bacterial food web channel. PMID:24260281

  5. Trophic structure of coastal Antarctic food webs associated with changes in sea ice and food supply.

    PubMed

    Norkko, A; Thrush, S F; Cummings, V J; Gibbs, M M; Andrew, N L; Norkko, J; Schwarz, A M

    2007-11-01

    Predicting the dynamics of ecosystems requires an understanding of how trophic interactions respond to environmental change. In Antarctic marine ecosystems, food web dynamics are inextricably linked to sea ice conditions that affect the nature and magnitude of primary food sources available to higher trophic levels. Recent attention on the changing sea ice conditions in polar seas highlights the need to better understand how marine food webs respond to changes in such broad-scale environmental drivers. This study investigated the importance of sea ice and advected primary food sources to the structure of benthic food webs in coastal Antarctica. We compared the isotopic composition of several seafloor taxa (including primary producers and invertebrates with a variety of feeding modes) that are widely distributed in the Antarctic. We assessed shifts in the trophic role of numerically dominant benthic omnivores at five coastal Ross Sea locations. These locations vary in primary productivity and food availability, due to their different levels of sea ice cover, and proximity to polynyas and advected primary production. The delta15N signatures and isotope mixing model results for the bivalves Laternula elliptica and Adamussium colbecki and the urchin Sterechinus neumeyeri indicate a shift from consumption of a higher proportion of detritus at locations with more permanent sea ice in the south to more freshly produced algal material associated with proximity to ice-free water in the north and east. The detrital pathways utilized by many benthic species may act to dampen the impacts of large seasonal fluctuations in the availability of primary production. The limiting relationship between sea ice distribution and in situ primary productivity emphasizes the role of connectivity and spatial subsidies of organic matter in fueling the food web. Our results begin to provide a basis for predicting how benthic ecosystems will respond to changes in sea ice persistence and extent

  6. Community food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, Donald L.; El-Shaarawi, Abdel H.; Piegorsch, Walter W.

    2002-01-01

    Community food webs describe the feeding relationships, or trophic interactions, between the species of an ecological community. Both the structure and dynamics of such webs are the focus of food web research. The topological structures of empirical food webs from many ecosystems have been published on the basis of field studies and they form the foundation for theory concerning the mean number of trophic levels, the mean number of trophic connections versus number of species, and other food web measures, which show consistency across different ecosystems. The dynamics of food webs are influenced by indirect interactions, in which changes in the level of a population in one part of the food web may have indirect effects throughout the web. The mechanisms of these interactions are typically studied microcosm experiments, or sometimes in-field experiments. The use of mathematical models is also a major approach to understanding the effects of indirect interactions. Both empirical and mathematical studies have revealed important properties of food webs, such as keystone predators and trophic cascades.

  7. Trophic transfer of contaminants in a changing arctic marine food web: Cumberland Sound, Nunavut, Canada.

    PubMed

    McKinney, Melissa A; McMeans, Bailey C; Tomy, Gregg T; Rosenberg, Bruno; Ferguson, Steven H; Morris, Adam; Muir, Derek C G; Fisk, Aaron T

    2012-09-18

    Contaminant dynamics in arctic marine food webs may be impacted by current climate-induced food web changes including increases in transient/subarctic species. We quantified food web organochlorine transfer in the Cumberland Sound (Nunavut, Canada) arctic marine food web in the presence of transient species using species-specific biomagnification factors (BMFs), trophic magnification factors (TMFs), and a multifactor model that included δ(15)N-derived trophic position and species habitat range (transient versus resident), and also considered δ(13)C-derived carbon source, thermoregulatory group, and season. Transient/subarctic species relative to residents had higher prey-to-predator BMFs of biomagnifying contaminants (1.4 to 62 for harp seal, Greenland shark, and narwhal versus 1.1 to 20 for ringed seal, arctic skate, and beluga whale, respectively). For contaminants that biomagnified in a transient-and-resident food web and a resident-only food web scenario, TMFs were higher in the former (2.3 to 10.1) versus the latter (1.7 to 4.0). Transient/subarctic species have higher tissue contaminant levels and greater BMFs likely due to higher energetic requirements associated with long-distance movements or consumption of more contaminated prey in regions outside of Cumberland Sound. These results demonstrate that, in addition to climate change-related long-range transport/deposition/revolatilization changes, increasing numbers of transient/subarctic animals may alter food web contaminant dynamics. PMID:22957980

  8. Trophic transfer of contaminants in a changing arctic marine food web: Cumberland Sound, Nunavut, Canada.

    PubMed

    McKinney, Melissa A; McMeans, Bailey C; Tomy, Gregg T; Rosenberg, Bruno; Ferguson, Steven H; Morris, Adam; Muir, Derek C G; Fisk, Aaron T

    2012-09-18

    Contaminant dynamics in arctic marine food webs may be impacted by current climate-induced food web changes including increases in transient/subarctic species. We quantified food web organochlorine transfer in the Cumberland Sound (Nunavut, Canada) arctic marine food web in the presence of transient species using species-specific biomagnification factors (BMFs), trophic magnification factors (TMFs), and a multifactor model that included δ(15)N-derived trophic position and species habitat range (transient versus resident), and also considered δ(13)C-derived carbon source, thermoregulatory group, and season. Transient/subarctic species relative to residents had higher prey-to-predator BMFs of biomagnifying contaminants (1.4 to 62 for harp seal, Greenland shark, and narwhal versus 1.1 to 20 for ringed seal, arctic skate, and beluga whale, respectively). For contaminants that biomagnified in a transient-and-resident food web and a resident-only food web scenario, TMFs were higher in the former (2.3 to 10.1) versus the latter (1.7 to 4.0). Transient/subarctic species have higher tissue contaminant levels and greater BMFs likely due to higher energetic requirements associated with long-distance movements or consumption of more contaminated prey in regions outside of Cumberland Sound. These results demonstrate that, in addition to climate change-related long-range transport/deposition/revolatilization changes, increasing numbers of transient/subarctic animals may alter food web contaminant dynamics.

  9. Climate change impacts in multispecies systems: drought alters food web size structure in a field experiment.

    PubMed

    Woodward, Guy; Brown, Lee E; Edwards, Francois K; Hudson, Lawrence N; Milner, Alexander M; Reuman, Daniel C; Ledger, Mark E

    2012-11-01

    Experimental data from intergenerational field manipulations of entire food webs are scarce, yet such approaches are essential for gauging impacts of environmental change in natural systems. We imposed 2 years of intermittent drought on stream channels in a replicated field trial, to measure food web responses to simulated climate change. Drought triggered widespread losses of species and links, with larger taxa and those that were rare for their size, many of which were predatory, being especially vulnerable. Many network properties, including size-scaling relationships within food chains, changed in response to drought. Other properties, such as connectance, were unaffected. These findings highlight the need for detailed experimental data from different organizational levels, from pairwise links to the entire food web. The loss of not only large species, but also those that were rare for their size, provides a newly refined way to gauge likely impacts that may be applied more generally to other systems and/or impacts.

  10. Climate change impacts in multispecies systems: drought alters food web size structure in a field experiment.

    PubMed

    Woodward, Guy; Brown, Lee E; Edwards, Francois K; Hudson, Lawrence N; Milner, Alexander M; Reuman, Daniel C; Ledger, Mark E

    2012-11-01

    Experimental data from intergenerational field manipulations of entire food webs are scarce, yet such approaches are essential for gauging impacts of environmental change in natural systems. We imposed 2 years of intermittent drought on stream channels in a replicated field trial, to measure food web responses to simulated climate change. Drought triggered widespread losses of species and links, with larger taxa and those that were rare for their size, many of which were predatory, being especially vulnerable. Many network properties, including size-scaling relationships within food chains, changed in response to drought. Other properties, such as connectance, were unaffected. These findings highlight the need for detailed experimental data from different organizational levels, from pairwise links to the entire food web. The loss of not only large species, but also those that were rare for their size, provides a newly refined way to gauge likely impacts that may be applied more generally to other systems and/or impacts. PMID:23007087

  11. The Serengeti food web: empirical quantification and analysis of topological changes under increasing human impact.

    PubMed

    de Visser, Sara N; Freymann, Bernd P; Olff, Han

    2011-03-01

    1. To address effects of land use and human overexploitation on wildlife populations, it is essential to better understand how human activities have changed species composition, diversity and functioning. Theoretical studies modelled how network properties change under human-induced, non-random species loss. However, we lack data on realistic species-loss sequences in threatened, real-world food webs to parameterize these models. 2. Here, we present a first size-structured topological food web of one of the most pristine terrestrial ecosystems in the world, the Serengeti ecosystem (Tanzania). The food web consists of 95 grouped nodes and includes both invertebrates and vertebrates ranging from body masses between 10(-7) and 10(4) kg. 3. We study the topological changes in this food web that result from the simulated IUCN-based species-loss sequence representing current species vulnerability to human disturbances in and around this savanna ecosystem. We then compare this realistic extinction scenario with other extinction sequences based on body size and connectance and perform an analysis of robustness of this savanna food web. 4. We demonstrate that real-world species loss in this case starts with the biggest (mega) herbivores and top predators, causing higher predator-prey mass ratios. However, unlike theoretically modelled linear species deletion sequences, this causes poor-connected species to be lost first, while more highly connected species become lost as human impact progresses. This food web shows high robustness to decreasing body size and increasing connectance deletion sequences compared with a high sensitivity to the decreasing connectance deletion scenario. 5. Furthermore, based on the current knowledge of the Serengeti ecosystem, we discuss how the focus on food web topology alone, disregarding nontrophic interactions, may lead to an underestimation of human impacts on wildlife communities, with the number of trophic links affected by a

  12. The Serengeti food web: empirical quantification and analysis of topological changes under increasing human impact.

    PubMed

    de Visser, Sara N; Freymann, Bernd P; Olff, Han

    2011-03-01

    1. To address effects of land use and human overexploitation on wildlife populations, it is essential to better understand how human activities have changed species composition, diversity and functioning. Theoretical studies modelled how network properties change under human-induced, non-random species loss. However, we lack data on realistic species-loss sequences in threatened, real-world food webs to parameterize these models. 2. Here, we present a first size-structured topological food web of one of the most pristine terrestrial ecosystems in the world, the Serengeti ecosystem (Tanzania). The food web consists of 95 grouped nodes and includes both invertebrates and vertebrates ranging from body masses between 10(-7) and 10(4) kg. 3. We study the topological changes in this food web that result from the simulated IUCN-based species-loss sequence representing current species vulnerability to human disturbances in and around this savanna ecosystem. We then compare this realistic extinction scenario with other extinction sequences based on body size and connectance and perform an analysis of robustness of this savanna food web. 4. We demonstrate that real-world species loss in this case starts with the biggest (mega) herbivores and top predators, causing higher predator-prey mass ratios. However, unlike theoretically modelled linear species deletion sequences, this causes poor-connected species to be lost first, while more highly connected species become lost as human impact progresses. This food web shows high robustness to decreasing body size and increasing connectance deletion sequences compared with a high sensitivity to the decreasing connectance deletion scenario. 5. Furthermore, based on the current knowledge of the Serengeti ecosystem, we discuss how the focus on food web topology alone, disregarding nontrophic interactions, may lead to an underestimation of human impacts on wildlife communities, with the number of trophic links affected by a

  13. MONITORING FOOD WEB CHANGES IN TIDE-RESTORED SALT MARSHES: A CARBON STABLE ISOTOPE APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    Primary producer (angiosperms, macroalgae, submerged aquatic vegetation), suspended particulate matter, and Fundulus heteroclitus isotope values (d13C , d15N, d34S) were examined to assess their use as an indicator for changes in food web support functions in tidally-restored sal...

  14. From projected species distribution to food-web structure under climate change.

    PubMed

    Albouy, Camille; Velez, Laure; Coll, Marta; Colloca, Francesco; Le Loc'h, François; Mouillot, David; Gravel, Dominique

    2014-03-01

    Climate change is inducing deep modifications in species geographic ranges worldwide. However, the consequences of such changes on community structure are still poorly understood, particularly the impacts on food-web properties. Here, we propose a new framework, coupling species distribution and trophic models, to predict climate change impacts on food-web structure across the Mediterranean Sea. Sea surface temperature was used to determine the fish climate niches and their future distributions. Body size was used to infer trophic interactions between fish species. Our projections reveal that 54 fish species of 256 endemic and native species included in our analysis would disappear by 2080-2099 from the Mediterranean continental shelf. The number of feeding links between fish species would decrease on 73.4% of the continental shelf. However, the connectance of the overall fish web would increase on average, from 0.26 to 0.29, mainly due to a differential loss rate of feeding links and species richness. This result masks a systematic decrease in predator generality, estimated here as the number of prey species, from 30.0 to 25.4. Therefore, our study highlights large-scale impacts of climate change on marine food-web structure with potential deep consequences on ecosystem functioning. However, these impacts will likely be highly heterogeneous in space, challenging our current understanding of climate change impact on local marine ecosystems.

  15. Nearshore energy subsidies support Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates following major changes in food web structure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Turschak, Benjamin A; Bunnell, David B.; Czesny, Sergiusz J.; Höök, Tomas O.; Janssen, John; Warner, David M.; Bootsma, Harvey A

    2014-01-01

    Aquatic food webs that incorporate multiple energy channels (e.g. nearshore benthic or pelagic) with varying productivity and turnover rates convey stability to biological communities by providing multiple independent energy sources. Within the Lake Michigan food web, invasive dreissenid mussels have caused rapid changes to food web structure and potentially altered the channels through which consumers acquire energy. We used stable C and N isotopes to determine how Lake Michigan food web structure has changed in the past decade, coincident with the expansion of dreissenid mussels, decreased pelagic phytoplankton production and increased nearshore benthic algal production. Fish and invertebrate samples collected from sites around Lake Michigan were analyzed to determine taxa-specific 13C:12C (delta 13C) and 15N:14N (delta 15N) ratios. Sampling took place during two distinct periods, 2002-2003 and 2010-2012, that spanned the period of dreissenid expansion, and included nearshore, pelagic and profundal fish and invertebrate taxa. Magnitude and direction of the 13C shift indicated significantly greater reliance upon nearshore benthic energy sources among nearly all fish taxa as well as profundal invertebrates. Although the mechanisms underlying this 13C shift likely varied among species, possible causes include the transport of benthic algal production to offshore waters and an increased reliance on nearshore prey items. Delta 15N shifts were more variable and of smaller magnitude across taxa although declines in delta 15N among some pelagic fishes may indicate a shift to alternative prey resources. Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates appear to have responded to dreissenid induced changes in nutrient and energy pathways by switching from pelagic to alternative nearshore energy subsidies. Although large shifts in energy allocation (i.e. pelagic to nearshore benthic) resulting from invasive species appear to have affected total production at upper trophic

  16. Nearshore energy subsidies support Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates following major changes in food web structure.

    PubMed

    Turschak, Benjamin A; Bunnell, David; Czesny, Sergiusz; Höök, Tomas O; Janssen, John; Warner, David; Bootsma, Harvey A

    2014-05-01

    Aquatic food webs that incorporate multiple energy channels (e.g., nearshore benthic and pelagic) with varying productivity and turnover rates convey stability to biological communities by providing independent energy sources. Within the Lake Michigan food web, invasive dreissenid mussels have caused rapid changes to food web structure and potentially altered the channels through which consumers acquire energy. We used stable C and N isotopes to determine how Lake Michigan food web structure has changed in the past decade, coincident with the expansion of dreissenid mussels, decreased pelagic phytoplankton production, and increased nearshore benthic algal production. Fish and invertebrate samples collected from sites around Lake Michigan were analyzed to determine taxa-specific 13C:12C (delta13C) and 15N:14N (delta15N) ratios. Sampling took place during two distinct periods, 2002-2003 and 2010-2012, that spanned the period of dreissenid expansion, and included nearshore, pelagic and profundal fish and invertebrate taxa. The magnitude and direction of the delta13C shift indicated significantly greater reliance upon nearshore benthic energy sources among nearly all fish taxa as well as profundal invertebrates following dreissenid expansion. Although the mechanisms underlying this delta13C shift likely varied among species, possible causes include the transport of benthic algal production to offshore waters and increased feeding on nearshore prey items by pelagic and profundal species. delta15N shifts were more variable and of smaller magnitude across taxa, although declines in delta15N among some pelagic fishes suggest a shift to alternative prey resources. Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates appear to have responded to dreissenid-induced changes in nutrient and energy pathways by switching from pelagic to alternative nearshore energy subsidies. Although large shifts in energy allocation (i.e., pelagic to nearshore benthic) resulting from invasive species appear

  17. Dams and downstream aquatic biodiversity: Potential food web consequences of hydrologic and geomorphic change

    SciTech Connect

    Power, M.E.; Dietrich, W.E.; Finlay, J.C.

    1996-11-01

    Responses of rivers and river ecosystems to dams are complex and varied, as they depend on local sediment supplies, geomorphic constraints, climate, dam structure and operation, and key attributes of the biota. Therefore, {open_quotes}one-size-fits-all{close_quotes} prescriptions cannot substitute for local knowledge in developing prescriptions for dam structure and operation to protect local biodiversity. One general principle is self-evident: that biodiversity is best protected in rivers where physical regimes are the most natural. A sufficiently natural regime of flow variation is particularly crucial for river biota and food webs. We review our research and that of others to illustrate the ecological importance of alternating periods of low an high flow, of periodic bed scour, and of floodplain inundation and dewatering. These fluctuations regulate both the life cycles of river biota and species interactions in the food webs that sustain them. Even if the focus of biodiversity conservation efforts is on a target species rather than whole ecosystems, a food web perspective is necessary, because populations of any species depend critically on how their resources, prey, and potential predators also respond to environmental change. In regulated rivers, managers must determine how the frequency, magnitude, and timing of hydrologic events interact to constrain or support species and food webs. Simple ecological modeling, tailored to local systems, may provide a framework and some insight into explaining ecosystem response to dams and should give direction to mitigation efforts. 78 refs.

  18. Fun With Food Webs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smith, Karl D.

    1977-01-01

    Explains an upper elementary game of tag that illustrates energy flow in food webs using candy bars as food sources. A follow-up field trip to a river and five language arts projects are also suggested. (CS)

  19. The impact of 850,000 years of climate changes on the structure and dynamics of mammal food webs.

    PubMed

    Nenzén, Hedvig K; Montoya, Daniel; Varela, Sara

    2014-01-01

    Most evidence of climate change impacts on food webs comes from modern studies and little is known about how ancient food webs have responded to climate changes in the past. Here, we integrate fossil evidence from 71 fossil sites, body-size relationships and actualism to reconstruct food webs for six large mammal communities that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula at different times during the Quaternary. We quantify the long-term dynamics of these food webs and study how their structure changed across the Quaternary, a period for which fossil data and climate changes are well known. Extinction, immigration and turnover rates were correlated with climate changes in the last 850 kyr. Yet, we find differences in the dynamics and structural properties of Pleistocene versus Holocene mammal communities that are not associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. Although all Quaternary mammal food webs were highly nested and robust to secondary extinctions, general food web properties changed in the Holocene. These results highlight the ability of communities to re-organize with the arrival of phylogenetically similar species without major structural changes, and the impact of climate change and super-generalist species (humans) on Iberian Holocene mammal communities.

  20. The Impact of 850,000 Years of Climate Changes on the Structure and Dynamics of Mammal Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Nenzén, Hedvig K.; Montoya, Daniel; Varela, Sara

    2014-01-01

    Most evidence of climate change impacts on food webs comes from modern studies and little is known about how ancient food webs have responded to climate changes in the past. Here, we integrate fossil evidence from 71 fossil sites, body-size relationships and actualism to reconstruct food webs for six large mammal communities that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula at different times during the Quaternary. We quantify the long-term dynamics of these food webs and study how their structure changed across the Quaternary, a period for which fossil data and climate changes are well known. Extinction, immigration and turnover rates were correlated with climate changes in the last 850 kyr. Yet, we find differences in the dynamics and structural properties of Pleistocene versus Holocene mammal communities that are not associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. Although all Quaternary mammal food webs were highly nested and robust to secondary extinctions, general food web properties changed in the Holocene. These results highlight the ability of communities to re-organize with the arrival of phylogenetically similar species without major structural changes, and the impact of climate change and super-generalist species (humans) on Iberian Holocene mammal communities. PMID:25207754

  1. Climate change alters the structure of arctic marine food webs due to poleward shifts of boreal generalists.

    PubMed

    Kortsch, Susanne; Primicerio, Raul; Fossheim, Maria; Dolgov, Andrey V; Aschan, Michaela

    2015-09-01

    Climate-driven poleward shifts, leading to changes in species composition and relative abundances, have been recently documented in the Arctic. Among the fastest moving species are boreal generalist fish which are expected to affect arctic marine food web structure and ecosystem functioning substantially. Here, we address structural changes at the food web level induced by poleward shifts via topological network analysis of highly resolved boreal and arctic food webs of the Barents Sea. We detected considerable differences in structural properties and link configuration between the boreal and the arctic food webs, the latter being more modular and less connected. We found that a main characteristic of the boreal fish moving poleward into the arctic region of the Barents Sea is high generalism, a property that increases connectance and reduces modularity in the arctic marine food web. Our results reveal that habitats form natural boundaries for food web modules, and that generalists play an important functional role in coupling pelagic and benthic modules. We posit that these habitat couplers have the potential to promote the transfer of energy and matter between habitats, but also the spread of pertubations, thereby changing arctic marine food web structure considerably with implications for ecosystem dynamics and functioning.

  2. Climate change alters the structure of arctic marine food webs due to poleward shifts of boreal generalists.

    PubMed

    Kortsch, Susanne; Primicerio, Raul; Fossheim, Maria; Dolgov, Andrey V; Aschan, Michaela

    2015-09-01

    Climate-driven poleward shifts, leading to changes in species composition and relative abundances, have been recently documented in the Arctic. Among the fastest moving species are boreal generalist fish which are expected to affect arctic marine food web structure and ecosystem functioning substantially. Here, we address structural changes at the food web level induced by poleward shifts via topological network analysis of highly resolved boreal and arctic food webs of the Barents Sea. We detected considerable differences in structural properties and link configuration between the boreal and the arctic food webs, the latter being more modular and less connected. We found that a main characteristic of the boreal fish moving poleward into the arctic region of the Barents Sea is high generalism, a property that increases connectance and reduces modularity in the arctic marine food web. Our results reveal that habitats form natural boundaries for food web modules, and that generalists play an important functional role in coupling pelagic and benthic modules. We posit that these habitat couplers have the potential to promote the transfer of energy and matter between habitats, but also the spread of pertubations, thereby changing arctic marine food web structure considerably with implications for ecosystem dynamics and functioning. PMID:26336179

  3. Climate change alters the structure of arctic marine food webs due to poleward shifts of boreal generalists

    PubMed Central

    Kortsch, Susanne; Primicerio, Raul; Fossheim, Maria; Dolgov, Andrey V.; Aschan, Michaela

    2015-01-01

    Climate-driven poleward shifts, leading to changes in species composition and relative abundances, have been recently documented in the Arctic. Among the fastest moving species are boreal generalist fish which are expected to affect arctic marine food web structure and ecosystem functioning substantially. Here, we address structural changes at the food web level induced by poleward shifts via topological network analysis of highly resolved boreal and arctic food webs of the Barents Sea. We detected considerable differences in structural properties and link configuration between the boreal and the arctic food webs, the latter being more modular and less connected. We found that a main characteristic of the boreal fish moving poleward into the arctic region of the Barents Sea is high generalism, a property that increases connectance and reduces modularity in the arctic marine food web. Our results reveal that habitats form natural boundaries for food web modules, and that generalists play an important functional role in coupling pelagic and benthic modules. We posit that these habitat couplers have the potential to promote the transfer of energy and matter between habitats, but also the spread of pertubations, thereby changing arctic marine food web structure considerably with implications for ecosystem dynamics and functioning. PMID:26336179

  4. Human Impacts and Climate Change Influence Nestedness and Modularity in Food-Web and Mutualistic Networks.

    PubMed

    Takemoto, Kazuhiro; Kajihara, Kosuke

    2016-01-01

    Theoretical studies have indicated that nestedness and modularity-non-random structural patterns of ecological networks-influence the stability of ecosystems against perturbations; as such, climate change and human activity, as well as other sources of environmental perturbations, affect the nestedness and modularity of ecological networks. However, the effects of climate change and human activities on ecological networks are poorly understood. Here, we used a spatial analysis approach to examine the effects of climate change and human activities on the structural patterns of food webs and mutualistic networks, and found that ecological network structure is globally affected by climate change and human impacts, in addition to current climate. In pollination networks, for instance, nestedness increased and modularity decreased in response to increased human impacts. Modularity in seed-dispersal networks decreased with temperature change (i.e., warming), whereas food web nestedness increased and modularity declined in response to global warming. Although our findings are preliminary owing to data-analysis limitations, they enhance our understanding of the effects of environmental change on ecological communities.

  5. Human Impacts and Climate Change Influence Nestedness and Modularity in Food-Web and Mutualistic Networks.

    PubMed

    Takemoto, Kazuhiro; Kajihara, Kosuke

    2016-01-01

    Theoretical studies have indicated that nestedness and modularity-non-random structural patterns of ecological networks-influence the stability of ecosystems against perturbations; as such, climate change and human activity, as well as other sources of environmental perturbations, affect the nestedness and modularity of ecological networks. However, the effects of climate change and human activities on ecological networks are poorly understood. Here, we used a spatial analysis approach to examine the effects of climate change and human activities on the structural patterns of food webs and mutualistic networks, and found that ecological network structure is globally affected by climate change and human impacts, in addition to current climate. In pollination networks, for instance, nestedness increased and modularity decreased in response to increased human impacts. Modularity in seed-dispersal networks decreased with temperature change (i.e., warming), whereas food web nestedness increased and modularity declined in response to global warming. Although our findings are preliminary owing to data-analysis limitations, they enhance our understanding of the effects of environmental change on ecological communities. PMID:27322185

  6. Human Impacts and Climate Change Influence Nestedness and Modularity in Food-Web and Mutualistic Networks

    PubMed Central

    Takemoto, Kazuhiro; Kajihara, Kosuke

    2016-01-01

    Theoretical studies have indicated that nestedness and modularity—non-random structural patterns of ecological networks—influence the stability of ecosystems against perturbations; as such, climate change and human activity, as well as other sources of environmental perturbations, affect the nestedness and modularity of ecological networks. However, the effects of climate change and human activities on ecological networks are poorly understood. Here, we used a spatial analysis approach to examine the effects of climate change and human activities on the structural patterns of food webs and mutualistic networks, and found that ecological network structure is globally affected by climate change and human impacts, in addition to current climate. In pollination networks, for instance, nestedness increased and modularity decreased in response to increased human impacts. Modularity in seed-dispersal networks decreased with temperature change (i.e., warming), whereas food web nestedness increased and modularity declined in response to global warming. Although our findings are preliminary owing to data-analysis limitations, they enhance our understanding of the effects of environmental change on ecological communities. PMID:27322185

  7. Properties of food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Pimm, S.L.

    1980-04-01

    On the assumption that systems of interacting species, when perturbed from equilibrium, should return to equilibrium quickly, one can predict four properties of food webs: (1) food chains should be short, (2) species feeding on more than one trophic level (omnivores) should be rare, (3) those species that do feed on more than one trophic level should do so by feeding on species in adjacent trophic levels, and (4) host-parasitoid systems are likely to be exceptions to (1)-(3) when interaction coefficients permit greater trophic complexity. By generating random, model food webs (with many features identical to webs described from a variety of marine, freshwater, and terrestrial systems), it is possible to generate expected values for the number of trophic levels and the degree of omnivory within webs. When compared with these random webs, real world webs are shown to have fewer trophic levels, less omnivory, and very few omnivores feeding on nonadjacent trophic levels. Insect webs are shown to have a greater degree of omnivory than other webs. The confirmation of all these predictions from stability analyses suggests that system stability places necessary, though not sufficient, limitations on the possible shapes of food webs.

  8. Community assembly and food web stability

    SciTech Connect

    Post, W.M.; Pimm, S.L.

    1983-01-01

    The ecological assembly of food webs is considered as a process of predator colonizations and extinctions. The results of computer simulations using predator-prey equations allow us to identify three types of food web stability and examine how they may change through development of food webs. Species turnover stability increases, stability to extensive species extinction remains constant, and local stability to population fluctuations decreases as food web assembly proceeds. 28 references, 7 figures, 3 tables.

  9. Changes in the Lake Michigan food web following dreissenid mussel invasions: A synthesis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Madenjian, Charles P.; Bunnell, David B.; Warner, David M.; Pothoven, Steven A.; Fahnenstiel, Gary L.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Vanderploeg, Henry A.; Tsehaye, Iyob; Claramunt, Randall M.; Clark, Richard D

    2015-01-01

    Using various available time series for Lake Michigan, we examined changes in the Lake Michigan food web following the dreissenid mussel invasions and identified those changes most likely attributable to these invasions, thereby providing a synthesis. Expansion of the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) population into deeper waters, which began around 2004, appeared to have a substantial predatory effect on both phytoplankton abundance and primary production, with annual primary production in offshore (> 50 m deep) waters being reduced by about 35% by 2007. Primary production likely decreased in nearshore waters as well, primarily due to predatory effects exerted by the quagga mussel expansion. The drastic decline inDiporeia abundance in Lake Michigan during the 1990s and 2000s has been attributed to dreissenid mussel effects, but the exact mechanism by which the mussels were negatively affecting Diporeia abundance remains unknown. In turn, decreased Diporeiaabundance was associated with reduced condition, growth, and/or energy density in alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii), and bloater (Coregonus hoyi). However, lake-wide biomass of salmonines, top predators in the food web, remained high during the 2000s, and consumption of alewives by salmonines actually increased between the 1980–1995 and 1996–2011 time periods. Moreover, abundance of the lake whitefish population, which supports Lake Michigan's most valuable commercial fishery, remained at historically high levels during the 2000s. Apparently, counterbalancing mechanisms operating within the complex Lake Michigan food web have enabled salmonines and lake whitefish to retain relatively high abundances despite reduced primary production.

  10. Insect-damaged fossil leaves record food web response to ancient climate change and extinction.

    PubMed

    Wilf, P

    2008-01-01

    Plants and herbivorous insects have dominated terrestrial ecosystems for over 300 million years. Uniquely in the fossil record, foliage with well-preserved insect damage offers abundant and diverse information both about producers and about ecological and sometimes taxonomic groups of consumers. These data are ideally suited to investigate food web response to environmental perturbations, and they represent an invaluable deep-time complement to neoecological studies of global change. Correlations between feeding diversity and temperature, between herbivory and leaf traits that are modulated by climate, and between insect diversity and plant diversity can all be investigated in deep time. To illustrate, I emphasize recent work on the time interval from the latest Cretaceous through the middle Eocene (67-47 million years ago (Ma)), including two significant events that affected life: the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65.5 Ma) and its ensuing recovery; and globally warming temperatures across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (55.8 Ma). Climatic effects predicted from neoecology generally hold true in these deep-time settings. Rising temperature is associated with increased herbivory in multiple studies, a result with major predictive importance for current global warming. Diverse floras are usually associated with diverse insect damage; however, recovery from the end-Cretaceous extinction reveals uncorrelated plant and insect diversity as food webs rebuilt chaotically from a drastically simplified state. Calibration studies from living forests are needed to improve interpretation of the fossil data.

  11. Species response to environmental change: impacts of food web interactions and evolution.

    PubMed

    Harmon, Jason P; Moran, Nancy A; Ives, Anthony R

    2009-03-01

    How environmental change affects species abundances depends on both the food web within which species interact and their potential to evolve. Using field experiments, we investigated both ecological and evolutionary responses of pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum), a common agricultural pest, to increased frequency of episodic heat shocks. One predator species ameliorated the decrease in aphid population growth with increasing heat shocks, whereas a second predator did not, with this contrast caused by behavioral differences between predators. We also compared aphid strains with stably inherited differences in heat tolerance caused by bacterial endosymbionts and showed the potential for rapid evolution for heat-shock tolerance. Our results illustrate how ecological and evolutionary complexities should be incorporated into predictions of the consequences of environmental change for species' populations.

  12. Food webs for parasitologists: a review.

    PubMed

    Sukhdeo, Michael V K

    2010-04-01

    This review examines the historical origins of food web theory and explores the reasons why parasites have traditionally been left out of food web studies. Current paradigms may still be an impediment because, despite several attempts, it remains virtually impossible to retrofit parasites into food web theory in any satisfactory manner. It seems clear that parasitologists must return to first principles to solve how best to incorporate parasites into ecological food webs, and a first step in changing paradigms will be to include parasites in the classic ecological patterns that inform food web theory. The limitations of current food web models are discussed with respect to their logistic exclusion of parasites, and the traditional matrix approach in food web studies is critically examined. The well-known energetic perspective on ecosystem organization is presented as a viable alternative to the matrix approach because it provides an intellectually powerful theoretical paradigm for generating testable hypotheses on true food web structure. This review proposes that to make significant contributions to the food web debate, parasitologists must work from the standpoint of natural history to elucidate patterns of biomass, species abundance, and interaction strengths in real food webs, and these will provide the basis for more realistic models that incorporate parasite dynamics into the overall functional dynamics of the whole web. A general conclusion is that only by quantifying the effects of parasites in terms of energy flows (or biomass) will we be able to correctly place parasites into food webs.

  13. Combined effects of global climate change and regional ecosystem drivers on an exploited marine food web.

    PubMed

    Niiranen, Susa; Yletyinen, Johanna; Tomczak, Maciej T; Blenckner, Thorsten; Hjerne, Olle; Mackenzie, Brian R; Müller-Karulis, Bärbel; Neumann, Thomas; Meier, H E Markus

    2013-11-01

    Changes in climate, in combination with intensive exploitation of marine resources, have caused large-scale reorganizations in many of the world's marine ecosystems during the past decades. The Baltic Sea in Northern Europe is one of the systems most affected. In addition to being exposed to persistent eutrophication, intensive fishing, and one of the world's fastest rates of warming in the last two decades of the 20th century, accelerated climate change including atmospheric warming and changes in precipitation is projected for this region during the 21st century. Here, we used a new multimodel approach to project how the interaction of climate, nutrient loads, and cod fishing may affect the future of the open Central Baltic Sea food web. Regionally downscaled global climate scenarios were, in combination with three nutrient load scenarios, used to drive an ensemble of three regional biogeochemical models (BGMs). An Ecopath with Ecosim food web model was then forced with the BGM results from different nutrient-climate scenarios in combination with two different cod fishing scenarios. The results showed that regional management is likely to play a major role in determining the future of the Baltic Sea ecosystem. By the end of the 21st century, for example, the combination of intensive cod fishing and high nutrient loads projected a strongly eutrophicated and sprat-dominated ecosystem, whereas low cod fishing in combination with low nutrient loads resulted in a cod-dominated ecosystem with eutrophication levels close to present. Also, nonlinearities were observed in the sensitivity of different trophic groups to nutrient loads or fishing depending on the combination of the two. Finally, many climate variables and species biomasses were projected to levels unseen in the past. Hence, the risk for ecological surprises needs to be addressed, particularly when the results are discussed in the ecosystem-based management context.

  14. Changes in food web structure affect rate of PCB decline in herring gull (Larus argentatus) eggs

    SciTech Connect

    Hebert, C.E.; Hobson, K.A.; Shutt, J.L.

    2000-05-01

    Biological monitors provide important information regarding temporal trends in levels of persistent organic pollutants. Correct interpretation of these trends is critical if one is to accurately assess his progress in eliminating these contaminants from the environment. In the Laurentian Great Lakes, polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in herring gull eggs declined during the 1970s and early 1980s. By the mid-1980s, further declines were not as obvious. An exception to this trend was observed in eggs from Lake Erie. On that lake, egg PCB concentrations continued to decline rapidly during the 1980s/1990s. Evidence from stable isotope analysis indicated that temporal changes in the composition of the herring gull diet occurred on Lake Erie. In the eastern basin, declines in fish availability may have forced the gulls to incorporate a greater proportion of terrestrial food into their diets. Decreases in the proportion of fish in the gull diet would have resulted in reduced PCB exposure. This may be partially responsible for the continuing rapid rate of decline in egg PCB concentrations. This decline should be interpreted with caution. These trends may not be indicative of lake-wide declines in PCB bioavailability but only reflect changes in dietary exposure brought about by alterations in food web structure.

  15. Lake Michigan offshore ecosystem structure and food web changes from 1987 to 2008

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Mark W.; Bunnell, David B.; Madenjian, Charles P.; Warner, David M.

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystems undergo dynamic changes owing to species invasions, fisheries management decisions, landscape modifications, and nutrient inputs. At Lake Michigan, new invaders (e.g., dreissenid mussels (Dreissena spp.), spiny water flea (Bythotrephes longimanus), round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)) have proliferated and altered energy transfer pathways, while nutrient concentrations and stocking rates to support fisheries have changed. We developed an ecosystem model to describe food web structure in 1987 and ran simulations through 2008 to evaluate changes in biomass of functional groups, predator consumption, and effects of recently invading species. Keystone functional groups from 1987 were identified as Mysis, burbot (Lota lota), phytoplankton, alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), nonpredatory cladocerans, and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Simulations predicted biomass reductions across all trophic levels and predicted biomasses fit observed trends for most functional groups. The effects of invasive species (e.g., dreissenid grazing) increased across simulation years, but were difficult to disentangle from other changes (e.g., declining offshore nutrient concentrations). In total, our model effectively represented recent changes to the Lake Michigan ecosystem and provides an ecosystem-based tool for exploring future resource management scenarios.

  16. Top-down Control of Stream Food Webs: Indirect Effects by Changed Behaviour and Species Interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winkelmann, C.; Petzoldt, T.; Koop, J. H.; Benndorf, J.

    2005-05-01

    Predators may directly control stream food webs by consuming invertebrates. But sub lethal effects on prey such as change of activity rhythm or feeding behaviour may lead to indirect effects of predation on other species. Thus, predators may strongly effect invertebrate community structure. The aim of a currently running paired ecosystem experiment is to detect changes of species interaction induced by benthivorous gudgeon (Gobio gobio). For this purpose we link the measurement of physiological fitness parameters to the observation of behavioural changes. Preliminary studies indicated a top-down control of the drift activity of Baetis larvae, while a bottom-up effect could not be observed. The presence of benthivorous gudgeon led to a significantly changed species composition of the invertebrate drift and reduced drift activity of Baetis larvae compared to the fish free control. The diurnal drift pattern of Baetis larvae with a nocturnal peak was observed both in the control and fish reaches. Thus benthivorous gudgeon controls the drift behaviour in a similar way as known for drift-feeding trout. The content of triglycerides and glycogen did not differ between the drifting and not-drifting individuals. Therefore their energetic status does not seem to control drift the activity of Baetis larvae.

  17. Local food web management increases resilience and buffers against global change effects on freshwaters.

    PubMed

    Urrutia-Cordero, Pablo; Ekvall, Mattias K; Hansson, Lars-Anders

    2016-01-01

    A major challenge for ecological research is to identify ways to improve resilience to climate-induced changes in order to secure the ecosystem functions of natural systems, as well as ecosystem services for human welfare. With respect to aquatic ecosystems, interactions between climate warming and the elevated runoff of humic substances (brownification) may strongly affect ecosystem functions and services. However, we hitherto lack the adaptive management tools needed to counteract such global-scale effects on freshwater ecosystems. Here we show, both experimentally and using monitoring data, that predicted climatic warming and brownification will reduce freshwater quality by exacerbating cyanobacterial growth and toxin levels. Furthermore, in a model based on long-term data from a natural system, we demonstrate that food web management has the potential to increase the resilience of freshwater systems against the growth of harmful cyanobacteria, and thereby that local efforts offer an opportunity to secure our water resources against some of the negative impacts of climate warming and brownification. This allows for novel policy action at a local scale to counteract effects of global-scale environmental change, thereby providing a buffer period and a safer operating space until climate mitigation strategies are effectively established. PMID:27386957

  18. Local food web management increases resilience and buffers against global change effects on freshwaters

    PubMed Central

    Urrutia-Cordero, Pablo; Ekvall, Mattias K.; Hansson, Lars-Anders

    2016-01-01

    A major challenge for ecological research is to identify ways to improve resilience to climate-induced changes in order to secure the ecosystem functions of natural systems, as well as ecosystem services for human welfare. With respect to aquatic ecosystems, interactions between climate warming and the elevated runoff of humic substances (brownification) may strongly affect ecosystem functions and services. However, we hitherto lack the adaptive management tools needed to counteract such global-scale effects on freshwater ecosystems. Here we show, both experimentally and using monitoring data, that predicted climatic warming and brownification will reduce freshwater quality by exacerbating cyanobacterial growth and toxin levels. Furthermore, in a model based on long-term data from a natural system, we demonstrate that food web management has the potential to increase the resilience of freshwater systems against the growth of harmful cyanobacteria, and thereby that local efforts offer an opportunity to secure our water resources against some of the negative impacts of climate warming and brownification. This allows for novel policy action at a local scale to counteract effects of global-scale environmental change, thereby providing a buffer period and a safer operating space until climate mitigation strategies are effectively established. PMID:27386957

  19. Estimating effects of tidal power projects and climate change on threatened and endangered marine species and their food web.

    PubMed

    Busch, D Shallin; Greene, Correigh M; Good, Thomas P

    2013-12-01

    Marine hydrokinetic power projects will operate as marine environments change in response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. We considered how tidal power development and stressors resulting from climate change may affect Puget Sound species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and their food web. We used risk tables to assess the singular and combined effects of tidal power development and climate change. Tidal power development and climate change posed risks to ESA-listed species, and risk increased with incorporation of the effects of these stressors on predators and prey of ESA-listed species. In contrast, results of a model of strikes on ESA-listed species from turbine blades suggested that few ESA-listed species are likely to be killed by a commercial-scale tidal turbine array. We applied scenarios to a food web model of Puget Sound to explore the effects of tidal power and climate change on ESA-listed species using more quantitative analytical techniques. To simulate development of tidal power, we applied results of the blade strike model. To simulate environmental changes over the next 50 years, we applied scenarios of change in primary production, plankton community structure, dissolved oxygen, ocean acidification, and freshwater flooding events. No effects of tidal power development on ESA-listed species were detected from the food web model output, but the effects of climate change on them and other members of the food web were large. Our analyses exemplify how natural resource managers might assess environmental effects of marine technologies in ways that explicitly incorporate climate change and consider multiple ESA-listed species in the context of their ecological community. Estimación de los Efectos de Proyectos de Energía de las Mareas y el Cambio Climático sobre Especies Marinas Amenazadas y en Peligro y su Red Alimentaria.

  20. Estimating effects of tidal power projects and climate change on threatened and endangered marine species and their food web.

    PubMed

    Busch, D Shallin; Greene, Correigh M; Good, Thomas P

    2013-12-01

    Marine hydrokinetic power projects will operate as marine environments change in response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. We considered how tidal power development and stressors resulting from climate change may affect Puget Sound species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and their food web. We used risk tables to assess the singular and combined effects of tidal power development and climate change. Tidal power development and climate change posed risks to ESA-listed species, and risk increased with incorporation of the effects of these stressors on predators and prey of ESA-listed species. In contrast, results of a model of strikes on ESA-listed species from turbine blades suggested that few ESA-listed species are likely to be killed by a commercial-scale tidal turbine array. We applied scenarios to a food web model of Puget Sound to explore the effects of tidal power and climate change on ESA-listed species using more quantitative analytical techniques. To simulate development of tidal power, we applied results of the blade strike model. To simulate environmental changes over the next 50 years, we applied scenarios of change in primary production, plankton community structure, dissolved oxygen, ocean acidification, and freshwater flooding events. No effects of tidal power development on ESA-listed species were detected from the food web model output, but the effects of climate change on them and other members of the food web were large. Our analyses exemplify how natural resource managers might assess environmental effects of marine technologies in ways that explicitly incorporate climate change and consider multiple ESA-listed species in the context of their ecological community. Estimación de los Efectos de Proyectos de Energía de las Mareas y el Cambio Climático sobre Especies Marinas Amenazadas y en Peligro y su Red Alimentaria. PMID:24299085

  1. The impact of climate change on the structure of Pleistocene food webs across the mammoth steppe

    PubMed Central

    Yeakel, Justin D.; Guimarães, Paulo R.; Bocherens, Hervé; Koch, Paul L.

    2013-01-01

    Species interactions form food webs, impacting community structure and, potentially, ecological dynamics. It is likely that global climatic perturbations that occur over long periods of time have a significant influence on species interaction patterns. Here, we integrate stable isotope analysis and network theory to reconstruct patterns of trophic interactions for six independent mammalian communities that inhabited mammoth steppe environments spanning western Europe to eastern Alaska (Beringia) during the Late Pleistocene. We use a Bayesian mixing model to quantify the contribution of prey to the diets of local predators, and assess how the structure of trophic interactions changed across space and the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), a global climatic event that severely impacted mammoth steppe communities. We find that large felids had diets that were more constrained than those of co-occurring predators, and largely influenced by an increase in Rangifer abundance after the LGM. Moreover, the structural organization of Beringian and European communities strongly differed: compared with Europe, species interactions in Beringian communities before—and possibly after—the LGM were highly modular. We suggest that this difference in modularity may have been driven by the geographical insularity of Beringian communities. PMID:23658198

  2. The dynamics of assembling food webs.

    PubMed

    Fahimipour, Ashkaan K; Hein, Andrew M

    2014-05-01

    Community assembly is central to ecology, yet ecologists have amassed little quantitative information about how food webs assemble. Theory holds that colonisation rate is a primary driver of community assembly. We present new data from a mesocosm experiment to test the hypothesis that colonisation rate also determines the assembly dynamics of food webs. By manipulating colonisation rate and measuring webs through time, we show how colonisation rate governs structural changes during assembly. Webs experiencing different colonisation rates had stable topologies despite significant species turnover, suggesting that some features of network architecture emerge early and change little through assembly. But webs experiencing low colonisation rates showed less variation in the magnitudes of trophic fluxes, and were less likely to develop coupled fast and slow resource channels--a common feature of published webs. Our results reveal that food web structure develops according to repeatable trajectories that are strongly influenced by colonisation rate.

  3. The shallow benthic food web structure in the high Arctic does not follow seasonal changes in the surrounding environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kędra, Monika; Kuliński, Karol; Walkusz, Wojciech; Legeżyńska, Joanna

    2012-12-01

    Seasonality, quality and quantity of food resources strongly affect fitness and survival of polar fauna. Most research conducted in polar areas has been carried out during the summer, rarely including aspects of seasonality; therefore, there are gaps in our knowledge of the structure of food webs in the Arctic, particularly information is lacking on the possible shifts in winter feeding strategies of organisms. This study is the first to compare potential shifts in benthic food-web structure between winter and summer in a shallow-water Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard). Winter data were collected in March when conditions are representative of winter and when Arctic shallow benthic fauna is likely to be most affected by absence of fresh food supply as opposed to summer (August). Samples of particulate suspended organic matter (POM), settled organic matter, surface sediment and benthic organisms were taken and analyzed for stable isotopes signatures (δ13C and δ15N). Four relative trophic levels (TL) were distinguished in both winter and summer, and no differences in the structure of benthic food web were found between seasons. Our study shows that the shallow sublittoral benthos depends on primary production, fresh and reworked settled organic matter and, to a certain degree, on terrestrial input. We also demonstrate that shallow water polar benthic fauna is characterized by a high level of omnivory and feeds at multiple trophic levels showing strong resilience to changing seasonal conditions.

  4. Genotype matching in a parasitoid-host genotypic food web: an approach for measuring effects of environmental change.

    PubMed

    Lavandero, Blas; Tylianakis, Jason M

    2013-01-01

    Food webs typically quantify interactions between species, whereas evolution operates through the success of alleles within populations of a single species. To bridge this gap, we quantify genotypic interaction networks among individuals of a single specialized parasitoid species and its obligate to cyclically parthenogenetic aphid host along a climatic gradient. As a case study for the kinds of questions genotype food webs could be used to answer, we show that genetically similar parasitoids became more likely to attack genetically similar hosts in warmer sites (i.e. there was network-wide congruence between the within-species shared allelic distance of the parasitoid and that of its host). Narrowing of host-genotype-niche breadth by parasitoids could reduce resilience of the network to changes in host genetic structure or invasion by novel host genotypes and inhibit biological control. Thus, our approach can be easily used to detect changes to sub-species-level food webs, which may have important ecological and evolutionary implications, such as promoting host-race specialization or the accelerated loss of functional diversity following extinctions of closely related genotypes.

  5. The Great Lakes Food Web.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baker, Marjane L.

    1997-01-01

    Presents a play for students in grades four to nine that incorporates the scientific names, physical characteristics, feeding habits, interactions, and interdependence of the plants and animals that make up the Great Lakes food web to facilitate the learning of this complex system. Includes a Great Lakes food web chart. (AIM)

  6. Food Web Topology in High Mountain Lakes.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Hernández, Javier; Cobo, Fernando; Amundsen, Per-Arne

    2015-01-01

    Although diversity and limnology of alpine lake systems are well studied, their food web structure and properties have rarely been addressed. Here, the topological food webs of three high mountain lakes in Central Spain were examined. We first addressed the pelagic networks of the lakes, and then we explored how food web topology changed when benthic biota was included to establish complete trophic networks. We conducted a literature search to compare our alpine lacustrine food webs and their structural metrics with those of 18 published lentic webs using a meta-analytic approach. The comparison revealed that the food webs in alpine lakes are relatively simple, in terms of structural network properties (linkage density and connectance), in comparison with lowland lakes, but no great differences were found among pelagic networks. The studied high mountain food webs were dominated by a high proportion of omnivores and species at intermediate trophic levels. Omnivores can exploit resources at multiple trophic levels, and this characteristic might reduce competition among interacting species. Accordingly, the trophic overlap, measured as trophic similarity, was very low in all three systems. Thus, these alpine networks are characterized by many omnivorous consumers with numerous prey species and few consumers with a single or few prey and with low competitive interactions among species. The present study emphasizes the ecological significance of omnivores in high mountain lakes as promoters of network stability and as central players in energy flow pathways via food partitioning and enabling energy mobility among trophic levels. PMID:26571235

  7. Food Web Topology in High Mountain Lakes.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Hernández, Javier; Cobo, Fernando; Amundsen, Per-Arne

    2015-01-01

    Although diversity and limnology of alpine lake systems are well studied, their food web structure and properties have rarely been addressed. Here, the topological food webs of three high mountain lakes in Central Spain were examined. We first addressed the pelagic networks of the lakes, and then we explored how food web topology changed when benthic biota was included to establish complete trophic networks. We conducted a literature search to compare our alpine lacustrine food webs and their structural metrics with those of 18 published lentic webs using a meta-analytic approach. The comparison revealed that the food webs in alpine lakes are relatively simple, in terms of structural network properties (linkage density and connectance), in comparison with lowland lakes, but no great differences were found among pelagic networks. The studied high mountain food webs were dominated by a high proportion of omnivores and species at intermediate trophic levels. Omnivores can exploit resources at multiple trophic levels, and this characteristic might reduce competition among interacting species. Accordingly, the trophic overlap, measured as trophic similarity, was very low in all three systems. Thus, these alpine networks are characterized by many omnivorous consumers with numerous prey species and few consumers with a single or few prey and with low competitive interactions among species. The present study emphasizes the ecological significance of omnivores in high mountain lakes as promoters of network stability and as central players in energy flow pathways via food partitioning and enabling energy mobility among trophic levels.

  8. Food Web Topology in High Mountain Lakes

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez-Hernández, Javier; Cobo, Fernando; Amundsen, Per-Arne

    2015-01-01

    Although diversity and limnology of alpine lake systems are well studied, their food web structure and properties have rarely been addressed. Here, the topological food webs of three high mountain lakes in Central Spain were examined. We first addressed the pelagic networks of the lakes, and then we explored how food web topology changed when benthic biota was included to establish complete trophic networks. We conducted a literature search to compare our alpine lacustrine food webs and their structural metrics with those of 18 published lentic webs using a meta-analytic approach. The comparison revealed that the food webs in alpine lakes are relatively simple, in terms of structural network properties (linkage density and connectance), in comparison with lowland lakes, but no great differences were found among pelagic networks. The studied high mountain food webs were dominated by a high proportion of omnivores and species at intermediate trophic levels. Omnivores can exploit resources at multiple trophic levels, and this characteristic might reduce competition among interacting species. Accordingly, the trophic overlap, measured as trophic similarity, was very low in all three systems. Thus, these alpine networks are characterized by many omnivorous consumers with numerous prey species and few consumers with a single or few prey and with low competitive interactions among species. The present study emphasizes the ecological significance of omnivores in high mountain lakes as promoters of network stability and as central players in energy flow pathways via food partitioning and enabling energy mobility among trophic levels. PMID:26571235

  9. Phytoplankton fuels Delta food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jassby, Alan D.; Cloern, James E.; Muller-Solger, A. B.

    2003-01-01

    Populations of certain fishes and invertebrates in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have declined in abundance in recent decades and there is evidence that food supply is partly responsible. While many sources of organic matter in the Delta could be supporting fish populations indirectly through the food web (including aquatic vegetation and decaying organic matter from agricultural drainage), a careful accounting shows that phytoplankton is the dominant food source. Phytoplankton, communities of microscopic free-floating algae, are the most important food source on a Delta-wide scale when both food quantity and quality are taken into account. These microscopic algae have declined since the late 1960s. Fertilizer and pesticide runoff do not appear to be playing a direct role in long-term phytoplankton changes; rather, species invasions, increasing water transparency and fluctuations in water transport are responsible. Although the potential toxicity of herbicides and pesticides to plank- ton in the Delta is well documented, the ecological significance remains speculative. Nutrient inputs from agricultural runoff at current levels, in combination with increasing transparency, could result in harmful al- gal blooms. 

  10. Widespread crown condition decline, food web disruption, and amplified tree mortality with increased climate change-type drought.

    PubMed

    Carnicer, Jofre; Coll, Marta; Ninyerola, Miquel; Pons, Xavier; Sánchez, Gerardo; Peñuelas, Josep

    2011-01-25

    Climate change is progressively increasing severe drought events in the Northern Hemisphere, causing regional tree die-off events and contributing to the global reduction of the carbon sink efficiency of forests. There is a critical lack of integrated community-wide assessments of drought-induced responses in forests at the macroecological scale, including defoliation, mortality, and food web responses. Here we report a generalized increase in crown defoliation in southern European forests occurring during 1987-2007. Forest tree species have consistently and significantly altered their crown leaf structures, with increased percentages of defoliation in the drier parts of their distributions in response to increased water deficit. We assessed the demographic responses of trees associated with increased defoliation in southern European forests, specifically in the Iberian Peninsula region. We found that defoliation trends are paralleled by significant increases in tree mortality rates in drier areas that are related to tree density and temperature effects. Furthermore, we show that severe drought impacts are associated with sudden changes in insect and fungal defoliation dynamics, creating long-term disruptive effects of drought on food webs. Our results reveal a complex geographical mosaic of species-specific responses to climate change-driven drought pressures on the Iberian Peninsula, with an overwhelmingly predominant trend toward increased drought damage.

  11. Widespread crown condition decline, food web disruption, and amplified tree mortality with increased climate change-type drought

    PubMed Central

    Carnicer, Jofre; Coll, Marta; Ninyerola, Miquel; Pons, Xavier; Sánchez, Gerardo; Peñuelas, Josep

    2011-01-01

    Climate change is progressively increasing severe drought events in the Northern Hemisphere, causing regional tree die-off events and contributing to the global reduction of the carbon sink efficiency of forests. There is a critical lack of integrated community-wide assessments of drought-induced responses in forests at the macroecological scale, including defoliation, mortality, and food web responses. Here we report a generalized increase in crown defoliation in southern European forests occurring during 1987–2007. Forest tree species have consistently and significantly altered their crown leaf structures, with increased percentages of defoliation in the drier parts of their distributions in response to increased water deficit. We assessed the demographic responses of trees associated with increased defoliation in southern European forests, specifically in the Iberian Peninsula region. We found that defoliation trends are paralleled by significant increases in tree mortality rates in drier areas that are related to tree density and temperature effects. Furthermore, we show that severe drought impacts are associated with sudden changes in insect and fungal defoliation dynamics, creating long-term disruptive effects of drought on food webs. Our results reveal a complex geographical mosaic of species-specific responses to climate change–driven drought pressures on the Iberian Peninsula, with an overwhelmingly predominant trend toward increased drought damage. PMID:21220333

  12. Parasites dominate food web links.

    PubMed

    Lafferty, Kevin D; Dobson, Andrew P; Kuris, Armand M

    2006-07-25

    Parasitism is the most common animal lifestyle, yet food webs rarely include parasites. The few earlier studies have indicated that including parasites leads to obvious increases in species richness, number of links, and food chain length. A less obvious result was that adding parasites slightly reduced connectance, a key metric considered to affect food web stability. However, reported reductions in connectance after the addition of parasites resulted from an inappropriate calculation. Two alternative corrective approaches applied to four published studies yield an opposite result: parasites increase connectance, sometimes dramatically. In addition, we find that parasites can greatly affect other food web statistics, such as nestedness (asymmetry of interactions), chain length, and linkage density. Furthermore, whereas most food webs find that top trophic levels are least vulnerable to natural enemies, the inclusion of parasites revealed that mid-trophic levels, not low trophic levels, suffered the highest vulnerability to natural enemies. These results show that food webs are very incomplete without parasites. Most notably, recognition of parasite links may have important consequences for ecosystem stability because they can increase connectance and nestedness.

  13. Cestodes change the isotopic signature of brine shrimp, Artemia, hosts: implications for aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Sánchez, Marta I; Varo, Nico; Matesanz, Cristina; Ramo, Cristina; Amat, Juan A; Green, Andy J

    2013-01-01

    To reach the final host (greater flamingos), the cestode Flamingolepis liguloides alters the behaviour of its intermediate host, the brine shrimp, Artemia parthenogenetica, causing it to spend more time close to the water surface. During summer 2010, we showed that the prevalence of this cestode was consistently higher at the top of the water column in the Odiel salt pans in south-western Spain. We used stable nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) isotopic analysis to test the hypothesis that cestodes also alter resource use by Artemia. In early summer, we compared stable isotopes in infected hosts at the surface with those from uninfected hosts at the bottom of the water column. In late summer, we compared infected and uninfected Artemia from the bottom. δ(15)N was consistently enriched in infected individuals compared with uninfected hosts, especially in Artemia with multiple infections of F. liguloides (family Hymenolepididae) and those with mixed infections of F. liguloides and cestodes of the family Dilepididae. Infected individuals from the surface were enriched in δ(13)C compared with uninfected ones from the bottom, but the opposite was found when comparing uninfected and infected Artemia from the same depth. This may be caused by the increase in lipid concentration in infected Artemia. Isolated cysticercoids of F. liguloides were significantly enriched in δ(13)C compared with cysticercoids in infected hosts, but surprisingly were not enriched in N. Our findings illustrate the way cestodes can alter food webs and highlight the importance of considering the parasitic status of prey in studies of trophic ecology in saline wetlands.

  14. Bacterioplankton communities of Crater Lake, OR: Dynamic changes with euphotic zone food web structure and stable deep water populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Urbach, E.; Vergin, K.L.; Larson, G.L.; Giovannoni, S.J.

    2007-01-01

    The distribution of bacterial and archaeal species in Crater Lake plankton varies dramatically over depth and with time, as assessed by hybridization of group-specific oligonucleotides to RNA extracted from lakewater. Nonmetric, multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis of relative bacterial phylotype densities revealed complex relationships among assemblages sampled from depth profiles in July, August and September of 1997 through 1999. CL500-11 green nonsulfur bacteria (Phylum Chloroflexi) and marine Group I crenarchaeota are consistently dominant groups in the oxygenated deep waters at 300 and 500 m. Other phylotypes found in the deep waters are similar to surface and mid-depth populations and vary with time. Euphotic zone assemblages are dominated either by ??-proteobacteria or CL120-10 verrucomicrobia, and ACK4 actinomycetes. MDS analyses of euphotic zone populations in relation to environmental variables and phytoplankton and zooplankton population structures reveal apparent links between Daphnia pulicaria zooplankton population densities and microbial community structure. These patterns may reflect food web interactions that link kokanee salmon population densities to community structure of the bacterioplankton, via fish predation on Daphnia with cascading consequences to Daphnia bacterivory and predation on bacterivorous protists. These results demonstrate a stable bottom-water microbial community. They also extend previous observations of food web-driven changes in euphotic zone bacterioplankton community structure to an oligotrophic setting. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  15. Parasites in the Wadden Sea food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thieltges, David W.; Engelsma, Marc Y.; Wendling, Carolin C.; Wegner, K. Mathias

    2013-09-01

    While the free-living fauna of the Wadden Sea has received much interest, little is known on the distribution and effects of parasites in the Wadden Sea food web. However, recent studies on this special type of trophic interaction indicate a high diversity of parasites in the Wadden Sea and suggest a multitude of effects on the hosts. This also includes effects on specific predator-prey relationships and the general structure of the food web. Focussing on molluscs, a major group in the Wadden Sea in terms of biomass and abundance and an important link between primary producers and predators, we review existing studies and exemplify the ecological role of parasites in the Wadden Sea food web. First, we give a brief inventory of parasites occurring in the Wadden Sea, ranging from microparasites (e.g. protozoa, bacteria) to macroparasites (e.g. helminths, parasitic copepods) and discuss the effects of spatial scale on heterogeneities in infection levels. We then demonstrate how parasites can affect host population dynamics by acting as a strong mortality factor, causing mollusc mass mortalities. In addition, we will exemplify how parasites can mediate the interaction strength of predator-prey relationships and affect the topological structure of the Wadden Sea food web as a whole. Finally, we highlight some ongoing changes regarding parasitism in the Wadden Sea in the course of global change (e.g. species introduction, climate change) and identify important future research questions to entangle the role of parasites in the Wadden Sea food web.

  16. Impacts of changing food webs in Lake Ontario: Implications of dietary fatty acids on growth of alewives

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Snyder, R.J.; Demarche, C.J.; Honeyfield, D.C.

    2011-01-01

    Declines in the abundance and condition of Great Lakes Alewives have been reported periodically during the last two decades, and the reasons for these declines remain unclear. To better understand how food web changes may influence Alewife growth and Wisconsin growth model predictions, we fed Alewives isocaloric diets high in omega-6 fatty acids (corn oil) or high in omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil). Alewives were fed the experimental diets at either 1% ("low ration") or 3% ("high ration") of their wet body weight per day. After six weeks, Alewives maintained on the high ration diets were significantly larger than those fed the low ration diets. Moreover, Alewives given the high ration fish oil diet were significantly larger than those maintained on the high ration corn oil diet after six weeks of growth. Body lipid, energy density and total body energy of Alewives on the high ration diets were significantly higher than those fed the low ration diets, and total body energy was significantly higher in Alewives given the high ration fish oil diet compared to those on the high ration corn oil diet. The current Wisconsin bioenergetics model underestimated growth and overestimated food consumption by Alewives in our study. Alewife thiaminase activity was similar among treatment groups. Overall, our results suggest that future food web changes in Lake Ontario, particularly if they involve decreases in the abundance of lipid rich prey items such as Mysis, may reduce Alewife growth rates and total body energy due to reductions in the availability of dietary omega-3 fatty acids. ?? 2011 AEHMS.

  17. Parasites in marine food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lafferty, Kevin D.

    2013-01-01

    Most species interactions probably involve parasites. This review considers the extent to which marine ecologists should consider parasites to fully understand marine communities. Parasites are influential parts of food webs in estuaries, temperate reefs, and coral reefs, but their ecological importance is seldom recognized. Though difficult to observe, parasites can have substantial biomass, and they can be just as common as free-living consumers after controlling for body mass and trophic level. Parasites have direct impacts on the energetics of their hosts and some affect host behaviors, with ecosystem-level consequences. Although they cause disease, parasites are sensitive components of ecosystems. In particular, they suffer secondary extinctions due to biodiversity loss. Some parasites can also return to a system after habitat restoration. For these reasons, parasites can make good indicators of ecosystem integrity. Fishing can indirectly increase or decrease parasite populations and the effects of climate change on parasites are likely to be equally as complex.

  18. Dispersal dynamics in food webs.

    PubMed

    Melián, Carlos J; Křivan, Vlastimil; Altermatt, Florian; Starý, Petr; Pellissier, Loïc; De Laender, Frederik

    2015-02-01

    Studies of food webs suggest that limited nonrandom dispersal can play an important role in structuring food webs. It is not clear, however, whether density-dependent dispersal fits empirical patterns of food webs better than density-independent dispersal. Here, we study a spatially distributed food web, using a series of population-dispersal models that contrast density-independent and density-dependent dispersal in landscapes where sampled sites are either homogeneously or heterogeneously distributed. These models are fitted to empirical data, allowing us to infer mechanisms that are consistent with the data. Our results show that models with density-dependent dispersal fit the α, β, and γ tritrophic richness observed in empirical data best. Our results also show that density-dependent dispersal leads to a critical distance threshold beyond which site similarity (i.e., β tritrophic richness) starts to decrease much faster. Such a threshold can also be detected in the empirical data. In contrast, models with density-independent dispersal do not predict such a threshold. Moreover, preferential dispersal from more centrally located sites to peripheral sites does not provide a better fit to empirical data when compared with symmetric dispersal between sites. Our results suggest that nonrandom dispersal in heterogeneous landscapes is an important driver that shapes local and regional richness (i.e., α and γ tritrophic richness, respectively) as well as the distance-decay relationship (i.e., β tritrophic richness) in food webs.

  19. Warming and Resource Availability Shift Food Web Structure and Metabolism

    PubMed Central

    O'Connor, Mary I.; Piehler, Michael F.; Leech, Dina M.; Anton, Andrea; Bruno, John F.

    2009-01-01

    Climate change disrupts ecological systems in many ways. Many documented responses depend on species' life histories, contributing to the view that climate change effects are important but difficult to characterize generally. However, systematic variation in metabolic effects of temperature across trophic levels suggests that warming may lead to predictable shifts in food web structure and productivity. We experimentally tested the effects of warming on food web structure and productivity under two resource supply scenarios. Consistent with predictions based on universal metabolic responses to temperature, we found that warming strengthened consumer control of primary production when resources were augmented. Warming shifted food web structure and reduced total biomass despite increases in primary productivity in a marine food web. In contrast, at lower resource levels, food web production was constrained at all temperatures. These results demonstrate that small temperature changes could dramatically shift food web dynamics and provide a general, species-independent mechanism for ecological response to environmental temperature change. PMID:19707271

  20. Insect symbionts in food webs

    PubMed Central

    Henry, Lee M.

    2016-01-01

    Recent research has shown that the bacterial endosymbionts of insects are abundant and diverse, and that they have numerous different effects on their hosts' biology. Here we explore how insect endosymbionts might affect the structure and dynamics of insect communities. Using the obligate and facultative symbionts of aphids as an example, we find that there are multiple ways that symbiont presence might affect food web structure. Many symbionts are now known to help their hosts escape or resist natural enemy attack, and others can allow their hosts to withstand abiotic stress or affect host plant use. In addition to the direct effect of symbionts on aphid phenotypes there may be indirect effects mediated through trophic and non-trophic community interactions. We believe that by using data from barcoding studies to identify bacterial symbionts, this extra, microbial dimension to insect food webs can be better elucidated. This article is part of the themed issue ‘From DNA barcodes to biomes’. PMID:27481779

  1. Insect symbionts in food webs.

    PubMed

    McLean, Ailsa H C; Parker, Benjamin J; Hrček, Jan; Henry, Lee M; Godfray, H Charles J

    2016-09-01

    Recent research has shown that the bacterial endosymbionts of insects are abundant and diverse, and that they have numerous different effects on their hosts' biology. Here we explore how insect endosymbionts might affect the structure and dynamics of insect communities. Using the obligate and facultative symbionts of aphids as an example, we find that there are multiple ways that symbiont presence might affect food web structure. Many symbionts are now known to help their hosts escape or resist natural enemy attack, and others can allow their hosts to withstand abiotic stress or affect host plant use. In addition to the direct effect of symbionts on aphid phenotypes there may be indirect effects mediated through trophic and non-trophic community interactions. We believe that by using data from barcoding studies to identify bacterial symbionts, this extra, microbial dimension to insect food webs can be better elucidated.This article is part of the themed issue 'From DNA barcodes to biomes'.

  2. Insect symbionts in food webs.

    PubMed

    McLean, Ailsa H C; Parker, Benjamin J; Hrček, Jan; Henry, Lee M; Godfray, H Charles J

    2016-09-01

    Recent research has shown that the bacterial endosymbionts of insects are abundant and diverse, and that they have numerous different effects on their hosts' biology. Here we explore how insect endosymbionts might affect the structure and dynamics of insect communities. Using the obligate and facultative symbionts of aphids as an example, we find that there are multiple ways that symbiont presence might affect food web structure. Many symbionts are now known to help their hosts escape or resist natural enemy attack, and others can allow their hosts to withstand abiotic stress or affect host plant use. In addition to the direct effect of symbionts on aphid phenotypes there may be indirect effects mediated through trophic and non-trophic community interactions. We believe that by using data from barcoding studies to identify bacterial symbionts, this extra, microbial dimension to insect food webs can be better elucidated.This article is part of the themed issue 'From DNA barcodes to biomes'. PMID:27481779

  3. Predators and Resources Influence Phosphorus Transfer along an Invertebrate Food Web through Changes in Prey Behaviour

    PubMed Central

    Calizza, Edoardo; Rossi, Loreto; Costantini, Maria Letizia

    2013-01-01

    Predators play a fundamental role in prey trophic behaviour, with indirect consequences for species coexistence and ecosystem functioning. Resource quality and availability also influence prey trophic behaviour, with potential effects on predator-prey dynamics. Although many studies have addressed these topics, little attention has been paid to the combined effects of predators and resources on prey species coexistence and nutrient transfer along food chains, especially in detritus-based systems. To determine the influence of predators and resource quality on the movement and P uptake of detritivores, we carried out a field experiment on the River Kelvin (Scotland) using 32P to test the hypothesis of reduced prey vagility among resource patches as a strategy to avoid predation. Thirty leaf sacks containing alder leaves and two detritivore prey populations (Asellus aquaticus and Lymnaea peregra) were placed in cages, half of them with two predator species (Dendrocoelum lacteum and Erpobdella octoculata) and the other half without predators. Five alder leaf bags, each individually inoculated with a different fungus strain to simulate a patchy habitat, were placed inside each leaf sack. One bag in each sack was labelled with 32P, in order to assess the proportion of detritivores using it as food and thus their movement among the five resource patches. Three replicates for each labelled fungus and each predation treatment (i.e. with and without predators) were left on the riverbed for 7 days. The presence of predators had negligible effects on the number of detritivores in the leaf bags, but it did reduce the proportion of 32P-labelled detritivores and their P uptake. The most strongly affected species was A. aquaticus, whose vagility, trophic overlap with L. peregra and P uptake were all reduced. The results confirm the importance of bottom-up and top-down forces acting simultaneously to regulate nutrient transfer along food chains in patchy habitats. PMID:23750242

  4. Mercury, Food Webs, and Marine Mammals: Implications of Diet and Climate Change for Human Health

    PubMed Central

    Booth, Shawn; Zeller, Dirk

    2005-01-01

    We modeled the flow of methyl mercury, a toxic global pollutant, in the Faroe Islands marine ecosystem and compared average human methyl mercury exposure from consumption of pilot whale meat and fish (cod, Gadus morhua) with current tolerable weekly intake (TWI) levels. Under present conditions and climate change scenarios, methyl mercury increased in the ecosystem, translating into increased human exposure over time. However, we saw greater changes as a result of changing fishing mortalities. A large portion of the general human population exceed the TWI levels set by the World Health Organization [WHO; 1.6 μg/kg body weight (bw)], and they all exceed the reference dose (RfD) of 0.1 μg/kg bw/day set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; equivalent to a TWI of 0.7 μg/kg bw). As a result of an independent study documenting that Faroese children exposed prenatally to methyl mercury had reduced cognitive abilities, pregnant women have decreased their intake of whale meat and were below the TWI levels set by the WHO and the U.S. EPA. Cod had approximately 95% lower methyl mercury concentrations than did pilot whale. Thus, the high and harmful levels of methyl mercury in the diet of Faroe Islanders are driven by whale meat consumption, and the increasing impact of climate change is likely to exacerbate this situation. Significantly, base inflow rates of mercury into the environment would need to be reduced by approximately 50% to ensure levels of intake below the WHO TWI levels, given current levels of whale consumption. PMID:15866757

  5. Progressive changes in the Western English Channel foster a reorganization in the plankton food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reygondeau, Gabriel; Molinero, Juan Carlos; Coombs, Steve; MacKenzie, Brian R.; Bonnet, Delphine

    2015-09-01

    Growing evidence has shown a profound modification of plankton communities of the North East Atlantic and adjacent seas over the past decades. This drastic change has been attributed to a modification of the environmental conditions that regulate the dynamics and the spatial distribution of ectothermic species in the ocean. Recently, several studies have highlighted modifications of the regional climate station L4 (50° 15.00‧N, 4° 13.02‧W) in the Western English Channel. We here focus on the modification of the plankton community by studying the long-term, annual and seasonal changes of five zooplankton groups and eight copepod genera. We detail the main composition and the phenology of the plankton communities during four climatic periods identified at the L4 station: 1988-1994, 1995-2000, 2001-2007 and 2008-2012. Our results show that long-term environmental changes underlined by Molinero et al. (2013) drive a profound restructuration of the plankton community modifying the phenology and the dominance of key planktonic groups including fish larvae. Consequently, the slow but deep modifications detected in the plankton community highlight a climate driven ecosystem shift in the Western English Channel.

  6. Lake Ontario: Food web dynamics in a changing ecosystem (1970-2000)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mills, E.L.; Casselman, J.M.; Dermott, R.; Fitzsimons, J.D.; Gal, G.; Holeck, K. T.; Hoyle, J.A.; Johannsson, O.E.; Lantry, B.F.; Makarewicz, J.C.; Millard, E.S.; Munawar, I.F.; Munawar, M.; O'Gorman, R.; Owens, R.W.; Rudstam, L. G.; Schaner, T.; Stewart, T.J.

    2003-01-01

    We examined stressors that have led to profound ecological changes in the Lake Ontario ecosystem and its fish community since 1970. The most notable changes have been reductions in phosphorus loading, invasion by Dreissena spp., fisheries management through stocking of exotic salmonids and control of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), and fish harvest by anglers and double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus). The response to these stressors has led to (i) declines in both algal photosynthesis and epilimnetic zooplankton production, (ii) decreases in alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) abundance, (iii) declines in native Diporeia and lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), (iv) behavioral shifts in alewife spatial distribution benefitting native lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), and emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides) populations, (v) dramatic increases in water clarity, (vi) predation impacts by cormorants on select fish species, and (vii) lake trout recruitment bottlenecks associated with alewife-induced thiamine deficiency. We expect stressor responses associated with anthropogenic forces like exotic species invasions and global climate warming to continue to impact the Lake Ontario ecosystem in the future and recommend continuous long-term ecological studies to enhance scientific understanding and management of this important resource.

  7. Warming alters food web-driven changes in the CO2 flux of experimental pond ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Atwood, T B; Hammill, E; Kratina, P; Greig, H S; Shurin, J B; Richardson, J S

    2015-12-01

    Evidence shows the important role biota play in the carbon cycle, and strategic management of plant and animal populations could enhance CO2 uptake in aquatic ecosystems. However, it is currently unknown how management-driven changes to community structure may interact with climate warming and other anthropogenic perturbations to alter CO2 fluxes. Here we showed that under ambient water temperatures, predators (three-spined stickleback) and nutrient enrichment synergistically increased primary producer biomass, resulting in increased CO2 uptake by mesocosms in early dawn. However, a 3°C increase in water temperatures counteracted positive effects of predators and nutrients, leading to reduced primary producer biomass and a switch from CO2 influx to efflux. This confounding effect of temperature demonstrates that climate scenarios must be accounted for when undertaking ecosystem management actions to increase biosequestration.

  8. Where are the parasites in food webs?

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    This review explores some of the reasons why food webs seem to contain relatively few parasite species when compared to the full diversity of free living species in the system. At present, there are few coherent food web theories to guide scientific studies on parasites, and this review posits that the methods, directions and questions in the field of food web ecology are not always congruent with parasitological inquiry. For example, topological analysis (the primary tool in food web studies) focuses on only one of six important steps in trematode life cycles, each of which requires a stable community dynamic to evolve. In addition, these transmission strategies may also utilize pathways within the food web that are not considered in traditional food web investigations. It is asserted that more effort must be focused on parasite-centric models, and a central theme is that many different approaches will be required. One promising approach is the old energetic perspective, which considers energy as the critical resource for all organisms, and the currency of all food web interactions. From the parasitological point of view, energy can be used to characterize the roles of parasites at all levels in the food web, from individuals to populations to community. The literature on parasite energetics in food webs is very sparse, but the evidence suggests that parasite species richness is low in food webs because parasites are limited by the quantity of energy available to their unique lifestyles. PMID:23092160

  9. Where are the parasites in food webs?

    PubMed

    Sukhdeo, Michael V K

    2012-01-01

    This review explores some of the reasons why food webs seem to contain relatively few parasite species when compared to the full diversity of free living species in the system. At present, there are few coherent food web theories to guide scientific studies on parasites, and this review posits that the methods, directions and questions in the field of food web ecology are not always congruent with parasitological inquiry. For example, topological analysis (the primary tool in food web studies) focuses on only one of six important steps in trematode life cycles, each of which requires a stable community dynamic to evolve. In addition, these transmission strategies may also utilize pathways within the food web that are not considered in traditional food web investigations. It is asserted that more effort must be focused on parasite-centric models, and a central theme is that many different approaches will be required. One promising approach is the old energetic perspective, which considers energy as the critical resource for all organisms, and the currency of all food web interactions. From the parasitological point of view, energy can be used to characterize the roles of parasites at all levels in the food web, from individuals to populations to community. The literature on parasite energetics in food webs is very sparse, but the evidence suggests that parasite species richness is low in food webs because parasites are limited by the quantity of energy available to their unique lifestyles.

  10. Dynamics of Simple Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Gedeon, Tomas; Murphy, Patrick

    2015-10-01

    We consider a simple food web with commensal relationship, where organisms utilize both external resources and resources produced by other organisms. We show that in such a community with no competition, there is at most one possible equilibrium for each fixed set of surviving species, and develop a natural condition that determines which species survive based on available resource. Our main result shows that among all possible communities described by equilibria, the one which is stable has the largest number of surviving species and largest combined biomass and hence maximizes utilization of available resources.

  11. Drought rewires the cores of food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Xueke; Gray, Clare; Brown, Lee E.; Ledger, Mark E.; Milner, Alexander M.; Mondragón, Raúl J.; Woodward, Guy; Ma, Athen

    2016-09-01

    Droughts are intensifying across the globe, with potentially devastating implications for freshwater ecosystems. We used new network science approaches to investigate drought impacts on stream food webs and explored potential consequences for web robustness to future perturbations. The substructure of the webs was characterized by a core of richly connected species surrounded by poorly connected peripheral species. Although drought caused the partial collapse of the food webs, the loss of the most extinction-prone peripheral species triggered a substantial rewiring of interactions within the networks’ cores. These shifts in species interactions in the core conserved the underlying core/periphery substructure and stability of the drought-impacted webs. When we subsequently perturbed the webs by simulating species loss in silico, the rewired drought webs were as robust as the larger, undisturbed webs. Our research unearths previously unknown compensatory dynamics arising from within the core that could underpin food web stability in the face of environmental perturbations.

  12. A role for brain size and cognition in food webs.

    PubMed

    Edmunds, Nicholas B; Laberge, Frédéric; McCann, Kevin S

    2016-08-01

    Predators tend to be large and mobile, enabling them to forage in spatially distinct food web compartments (e.g. littoral and pelagic aquatic macrohabitats). This feature can stabilise ecosystems when predators are capable of rapid behavioural response to changing resource conditions in distinct habitat compartments. However, what provides this ability to respond behaviourally has not been quantified. We hypothesised that predators require increased cognitive abilities to occupy their position in a food web, which puts pressure to increase brain size. Consistent with food web theory, we found that fish relative brain size increased with increased ability to forage across macrohabitats and increased relative trophic positions in a lacustrine food web, indicating that larger brains may afford the cognitive capacity to exploit various habitats flexibly, thus contributing to the stability of whole food webs.

  13. Food-web dynamics in a large river discontinuum

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cross, Wyatt F.; Baxter, Colden V.; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J.; Hall, Robert O.; Kennedy, Theodore A.; Donner, Kevin C.; Kelly, Holly A. Wellard; Seegert, Sarah E.Z.; Behn, Kathrine E.; Yard, Michael D.

    2013-01-01

    Nearly all ecosystems have been altered by human activities, and most communities are now composed of interacting species that have not co-evolved. These changes may modify species interactions, energy and material flows, and food-web stability. Although structural changes to ecosystems have been widely reported, few studies have linked such changes to dynamic food-web attributes and patterns of energy flow. Moreover, there have been few tests of food-web stability theory in highly disturbed and intensely managed freshwater ecosystems. Such synthetic approaches are needed for predicting the future trajectory of ecosystems, including how they may respond to natural or anthropogenic perturbations. We constructed flow food webs at six locations along a 386-km segment of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA) for three years. We characterized food-web structure and production, trophic basis of production, energy efficiencies, and interaction-strength distributions across a spatial gradient of perturbation (i.e., distance from Glen Canyon Dam), as well as before and after an experimental flood. We found strong longitudinal patterns in food-web characteristics that strongly correlated with the spatial position of large tributaries. Above tributaries, food webs were dominated by nonnative New Zealand mudsnails (62% of production) and nonnative rainbow trout (100% of fish production). The simple structure of these food webs led to few dominant energy pathways (diatoms to few invertebrate taxa to rainbow trout), large energy inefficiencies (i.e., Below large tributaries, invertebrate production declined ∼18-fold, while fish production remained similar to upstream sites and comprised predominately native taxa (80–100% of production). Sites below large tributaries had increasingly reticulate and detritus-based food webs with a higher prevalence of omnivory, as well as interaction strength distributions more typical of theoretically stable food webs (i

  14. An Ecosystem Approach for understanding status and changes of Nador lagoon (Morocco): application for of food web models and ecosystem indices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bocci, M.; Brigolin, D.; Pranovi, F.; Najih, M.; Nachite, D.; Pastres, R.

    2016-03-01

    The work applies food web models to the Lagoon of Nador (Morocco) and subsequently estimates ecosystem indices. This effort supports the evaluation of the ecosystem status and the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp), endorsed by the contracting parties of the Barcelona Convention for the Mediterranean Sea. The Lagoon of Nador, on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, suffered from eutrophication during recent decades. We used indices derived from Ecological Network Analysis for investigating the most relevant features of ecosystem functioning in the decade 2000-2010 (present scenario), and comparing them with those of the 1980s (past scenario). As the Lagoon includes different habitats, the methodology was applied to each of them, in order to assess their contribution to the functioning of the whole ecosystem. Results highlighted an increase in Total System Throughput (TST) in the present scenario when compared with the past one, also associated to an increase of Total Respiration (TR) and of the ratio between Total Primary Production and Total Respiration (TPP/TR). Under the present scenario Nador lagoon shows a decreased cycling efficiency. The sensitivity analysis highlighted the capability of TST and Comprehensive Cycling Index (CCI) in detecting changes, in agreement with other recent studies on responses of food web functioning to eutrophication. The results are discussed in respect to three specific aspects, related with the application of food Web Models and Ecological Network Analysis in the EcAp context: i) data availability; ii) spatialization of indicators; iii) selected set of indicators. The results also highlight the important role of sensitivity/uncertainty analysis when implementing food web models in data-scarce systems.

  15. Adaptations in a hierarchical food web of southeastern Lake Michigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krause, Ann E.; Frank, Ken A.; Jones, Michael L.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Barbiero, Richard P.; Madenjian, Charles P.; Agy, Megan; Evans, Marlene S.; Taylor, William W.; Mason, Doran M.; Leonard, Nancy J.

    2009-01-01

    Two issues in ecological network theory are: (1) how to construct an ecological network model and (2) how do entire networks (as opposed to individual species) adapt to changing conditions? We present a novel method for constructing an ecological network model for the food web of southeastern Lake Michigan (USA) and we identify changes in key system properties that are large relative to their uncertainty as this ecological network adapts from one time point to a second time point in response to multiple perturbations. To construct our food web for southeastern Lake Michigan, we followed the list of seven recommendations outlined in Cohen et al. [Cohen, J.E., et al., 1993. Improving food webs. Ecology 74, 252–258] for improving food webs. We explored two inter-related extensions of hierarchical system theory with our food web; the first one was that subsystems react to perturbations independently in the short-term and the second one was that a system's properties change at a slower rate than its subsystems’ properties. We used Shannon's equations to provide quantitative versions of the basic food web properties: number of prey, number of predators, number of feeding links, and connectance (or density). We then compared these properties between the two time-periods by developing distributions of each property for each time period that took uncertainty about the property into account. We compared these distributions, and concluded that non-overlapping distributions indicated changes in these properties that were large relative to their uncertainty. Two subsystems were identified within our food web system structure (p < 0.001). One subsystem had more non-overlapping distributions in food web properties between Time 1 and Time 2 than the other subsystem. The overall system had all overlapping distributions in food web properties between Time 1 and Time 2. These results supported both extensions of hierarchical systems theory. Interestingly, the subsystem with more

  16. Dining Dovekies Demand, "When, Where and What's for Dinner?" The Impact of Seasonal Changes in Snow Melt and the Development of the Arctic Marine Food Web on Seabirds.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karnovsky, N. J.; Harding, A.; Welcker, J.; Brown, Z. W.; Kitaysky, A.; Kwasniewski, S.; Walkusz, W.; Gremillet, D.

    2011-12-01

    The Atlantic sector of the Arctic is undergoing widespread climate change with increases in air and sea temperatures which impact the timing of ice retreat, snow melt and the development of the marine food web. Dovekies (Alle alle) are small seabirds that migrate to the Atlantic Sector of the Arctic to feed in ice free waters that have abundant lipid-rich zooplankton. In the Greenland Sea, the dovekies are largely dependent on the advection of Calanus copepods into the area. We hypothesized that dovekies breeding adjacent to water masses which bring smaller, less energy-rich prey into the region (Calanus finmarchicus), work harder to find food and have higher stress levels. We tested this hypothesis by attaching time-depth recorders to provisioning dovekies at three colonies adjacent to different water masses (the West Spistbergen Current, the East Greenland Current, and the Sorkapp Current). We determined the length of time dovekies at different colonies spent at-sea collecting food for themselves and their chicks. We measured circulating corticosteroid hormone levels in their blood to assess stress levels. We collected chick meals to determine the energetic content of prey fed chicks at the different colonies. We found that dovekies are sensitive to the quality of prey available to them. Dovekies exposed to less profitable prey made longer foraging trips and worked harder while at-sea to collect prey for themselves and their chicks. Furthermore, over the past 50 years, dovekies breeding along the western shores of Spitsbergen have initiated breeding earlier in spring as their nest sites have become snow-free at earlier dates. We evaluate the impact of earlier breeding and the timing of the development of the marine food web within different currents which advect and/or support Calanus copepods into the Greenland Sea. Future possible declines in dovekies may impact terrestrial food webs which are highly influenced by the annual input of nitrogen rich guano on the

  17. Changes in microbial food web structure in response to changed environmental trophic status: a case study of the Vranjic Basin (Adriatic Sea).

    PubMed

    Solić, M; Krstulović, N; Kuspilić, G; Nincević Gladan, Z; Bojanić, N; Sestanović, S; Santić, D; Ordulj, M

    2010-08-01

    Vranjic Basin, in the eastern part of KastelaBay (middle Adriatic Sea), received municipal wastewater until offshore submarine outfalls were finished in November 2004. To identify the responses of the microbial community to changes in the trophic status of the marine environment, two 4-year periods were compared: a eutrophic period (2001-2004) when the sewage waters entered the Basin and an oligotrophic period (2005-2008) after the outfalls were completed. The switch from eutrophic to oligotrophic conditions was accompanied by decreases in bacterial abundance, bacterial production and chlorophyll a, and increase in heterotrophic nanoflagellate (HNF) abundance and bacterial specific growth rate. Qualitative changes in the phytoplankton community manifested through dramatically decreased abundance of the diatom species Skeletonema costatum and Euglenophyta Eutreptiella spp. during the oligotrophic period. Furthermore, the percent contribution of pico-nano phytoplankton chlorophyll to total chlorophyll increased from less than 40% during the eutrophic period to more than 60% during the oligotrophic period. Changes in seasonal patterns of phytoplankton, bacteria and HNF abundance were also observed, with summer maxima during the eutrophic period and spring and autumn maxima during the oligotrophic period. Significant changes in the microbial food web were also identified. During eutrophic conditions, bacteria were dominantly under the phytoplankton-mediated bottom-up control whereas HNF were dominantly controlled by ciliate grazing (top-down control). In contrast, during the oligotrophic period, predominantly top-down control of bacteria by strong HNF grazing was observed. At the same time, HNF were spared from strong ciliate predation pressure because the ciliates apparently switched their dominant prey from HNF to the pico-nano phytoplankton fraction during that period. PMID:20570345

  18. Food webs: experts consuming families of experts.

    PubMed

    Rossberg, A G; Matsuda, H; Amemiya, T; Itoh, K

    2006-08-01

    Food webs of habitats as diverse as lakes or desert valleys are known to exhibit common "food-web patterns", but the detailed mechanisms generating these structures have remained unclear. By employing a stochastic, dynamical model, we show that many aspects of the structure of predatory food webs can be understood as the traces of an evolutionary history where newly evolving species avoid direct competition with their relatives. The tendency to avoid sharing natural enemies (apparent competition) with related species is considerably weaker. Thus, "experts consuming families of experts" can be identified as the main underlying food-web pattern. We report the results of a systematic, quantitative model validation showing that the model is surprisingly accurate.

  19. Does temporal variation of mercury levels in Arctic seabirds reflect changes in global environmental contamination, or a modification of Arctic marine food web functioning?

    PubMed

    Fort, Jérôme; Grémillet, David; Traisnel, Gwendoline; Amélineau, Françoise; Bustamante, Paco

    2016-04-01

    Studying long-term trends of contaminants in Arctic biota is essential to better understand impacts of anthropogenic activities and climate change on the exposure of sensitive species and marine ecosystems. We concurrently measured temporal changes (2006-2014) in mercury (Hg) contamination of little auks (Alle alle; the most abundant Arctic seabird) and in their major zooplankton prey species (Calanoid copepods, Themisto libellula, Gammarus spp.). We found an increasing contamination of the food-chain in East Greenland during summer over the last decade. More specifically, bird contamination (determined by body feather analyses) has increased at a rate of 3.4% per year. Conversely, bird exposure to Hg during winter in the northwest Atlantic (determined by head feather analyses) decreased over the study period (at a rate of 1.5% per year), although winter concentrations remained consistently higher than during summer. By combining mercury levels measured in birds and zooplankton to isotopic analyses, our results demonstrate that inter-annual variations of Hg levels in little auks reflect changes in food-chain contamination, rather than a reorganization of the food web and a modification of seabird trophic ecology. They therefore underline the value of little auks, and Arctic seabirds in general, as bio-indicators of long-term changes in environmental contamination.

  20. Soil processes and tree growth at shooting ranges in a boreal forest reflect contamination history and lead-induced changes in soil food webs.

    PubMed

    Selonen, Salla; Setälä, Heikki

    2015-06-15

    The effects of shooting-derived lead (Pb) on the structure and functioning of a forest ecosystem, and the recovery of the ecosystem after range abandonment were studied at an active shotgun shooting range, an abandoned shooting range where shooting ceased 20 years earlier and an uncontaminated control site. Despite numerous lead-induced changes in the soil food web, soil processes were only weakly related to soil food web composition. However, decomposition of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) needle litter was retarded at the active shooting range, and microbial activity, microbial biomass and the rate of decomposition of Pb-contaminated grass litter decreased with increasing soil Pb concentrations. Tree (P. sylvestris) radial growth was suppressed at the active shooting range right after shooting activities started. In contrast, the growth of pines improved at the abandoned shooting range after the cessation of shooting, despite reduced nitrogen and phosphorus contents of the needles. Higher litter degradation rates and lower Pb concentrations in the topmost soil layer at the abandoned shooting range suggest gradual recovery after range abandonment. Our findings suggest that functions in lead-contaminated coniferous forest ecosystems depend on the successional stage of the forest as well as the time since the contamination source has been eliminated, which affects, e.g., the vertical distribution of the contaminant in the soil. However, despite multiple lead-induced changes throughout the ecosystem, the effects were rather weak, indicating high resistance of coniferous forest ecosystems to this type of stress.

  1. Soil processes and tree growth at shooting ranges in a boreal forest reflect contamination history and lead-induced changes in soil food webs.

    PubMed

    Selonen, Salla; Setälä, Heikki

    2015-06-15

    The effects of shooting-derived lead (Pb) on the structure and functioning of a forest ecosystem, and the recovery of the ecosystem after range abandonment were studied at an active shotgun shooting range, an abandoned shooting range where shooting ceased 20 years earlier and an uncontaminated control site. Despite numerous lead-induced changes in the soil food web, soil processes were only weakly related to soil food web composition. However, decomposition of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) needle litter was retarded at the active shooting range, and microbial activity, microbial biomass and the rate of decomposition of Pb-contaminated grass litter decreased with increasing soil Pb concentrations. Tree (P. sylvestris) radial growth was suppressed at the active shooting range right after shooting activities started. In contrast, the growth of pines improved at the abandoned shooting range after the cessation of shooting, despite reduced nitrogen and phosphorus contents of the needles. Higher litter degradation rates and lower Pb concentrations in the topmost soil layer at the abandoned shooting range suggest gradual recovery after range abandonment. Our findings suggest that functions in lead-contaminated coniferous forest ecosystems depend on the successional stage of the forest as well as the time since the contamination source has been eliminated, which affects, e.g., the vertical distribution of the contaminant in the soil. However, despite multiple lead-induced changes throughout the ecosystem, the effects were rather weak, indicating high resistance of coniferous forest ecosystems to this type of stress. PMID:25770944

  2. Exposing the structure of an Arctic food web.

    PubMed

    Wirta, Helena K; Vesterinen, Eero J; Hambäck, Peter A; Weingartner, Elisabeth; Rasmussen, Claus; Reneerkens, Jeroen; Schmidt, Niels M; Gilg, Olivier; Roslin, Tomas

    2015-09-01

    How food webs are structured has major implications for their stability and dynamics. While poorly studied to date, arctic food webs are commonly assumed to be simple in structure, with few links per species. If this is the case, then different parts of the web may be weakly connected to each other, with populations and species united by only a low number of links. We provide the first highly resolved description of trophic link structure for a large part of a high-arctic food web. For this purpose, we apply a combination of recent techniques to describing the links between three predator guilds (insectivorous birds, spiders, and lepidopteran parasitoids) and their two dominant prey orders (Diptera and Lepidoptera). The resultant web shows a dense link structure and no compartmentalization or modularity across the three predator guilds. Thus, both individual predators and predator guilds tap heavily into the prey community of each other, offering versatile scope for indirect interactions across different parts of the web. The current description of a first but single arctic web may serve as a benchmark toward which to gauge future webs resolved by similar techniques. Targeting an unusual breadth of predator guilds, and relying on techniques with a high resolution, it suggests that species in this web are closely connected. Thus, our findings call for similar explorations of link structure across multiple guilds in both arctic and other webs. From an applied perspective, our description of an arctic web suggests new avenues for understanding how arctic food webs are built and function and of how they respond to current climate change. It suggests that to comprehend the community-level consequences of rapid arctic warming, we should turn from analyses of populations, population pairs, and isolated predator-prey interactions to considering the full set of interacting species. PMID:26380710

  3. Exposing the structure of an Arctic food web

    PubMed Central

    Wirta, Helena K; Vesterinen, Eero J; Hambäck, Peter A; Weingartner, Elisabeth; Rasmussen, Claus; Reneerkens, Jeroen; Schmidt, Niels M; Gilg, Olivier; Roslin, Tomas

    2015-01-01

    How food webs are structured has major implications for their stability and dynamics. While poorly studied to date, arctic food webs are commonly assumed to be simple in structure, with few links per species. If this is the case, then different parts of the web may be weakly connected to each other, with populations and species united by only a low number of links. We provide the first highly resolved description of trophic link structure for a large part of a high-arctic food web. For this purpose, we apply a combination of recent techniques to describing the links between three predator guilds (insectivorous birds, spiders, and lepidopteran parasitoids) and their two dominant prey orders (Diptera and Lepidoptera). The resultant web shows a dense link structure and no compartmentalization or modularity across the three predator guilds. Thus, both individual predators and predator guilds tap heavily into the prey community of each other, offering versatile scope for indirect interactions across different parts of the web. The current description of a first but single arctic web may serve as a benchmark toward which to gauge future webs resolved by similar techniques. Targeting an unusual breadth of predator guilds, and relying on techniques with a high resolution, it suggests that species in this web are closely connected. Thus, our findings call for similar explorations of link structure across multiple guilds in both arctic and other webs. From an applied perspective, our description of an arctic web suggests new avenues for understanding how arctic food webs are built and function and of how they respond to current climate change. It suggests that to comprehend the community-level consequences of rapid arctic warming, we should turn from analyses of populations, population pairs, and isolated predator–prey interactions to considering the full set of interacting species. PMID:26380710

  4. Food Chain to Food Web: A Natural Progression?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Webb, Paul; Boltt, Gill

    1990-01-01

    Investigated is the ability of high school pupils and university students to answer questions based on relationships within food webs using sound ecological principles. Research methods used and the results of this study are discussed. (CW)

  5. Inducible defenses in food webs: Chapter 3.4

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vos, Matthijs; Kooi, Bob W.; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Mooij, Wolf M.; de Ruiter, Peter; Wolters, Volkmar; Moore, John C.; Melville-Smith, Kimberly

    2005-01-01

    This chapter reviews the predicted effects of induced defenses on trophic structure and two aspects of stability, “local” stability and persistence, as well as presenting novel results on a third, resilience. Food webs are structures of populations in a given location organized according to their predator–prey interactions. Interaction strengths and, therefore, prey defenses are generally recognized as important ecological factors affecting food webs. Despite this, surprisingly, little light has been shed on the food web-level consequences of inducible defenses. Inducible defenses occur in many taxa in both terrestrial and aquatic food webs. They include refuge use, reduced activity, adaptive life history changes, the production of toxins, synomones and extrafloral nectar, and the formation of colonies, helmets, thorns, or spines. In the chapter, theoretical results for the effects of inducible defenses on trophic structure and the three aspects of stability are reviewed. This is done, in part, using bifurcation analysis—a type of analysis that is applied to nonlinear dynamic systems described by a set of ordinary differential or difference equations. The work presented in the chapter suggests that heterogeneity, as caused by induced defenses in prey species, has major effects on the functioning of food webs. Inducible defenses occur in many species in both aquatic and terrestrial systems, and theoretical work indicates they have major effects on important food web properties such as trophic structure, local stability, persistence, and resilience.

  6. Barcoding a quantified food web: crypsis, concepts, ecology and hypotheses.

    PubMed

    Smith, M Alex; Eveleigh, Eldon S; McCann, Kevin S; Merilo, Mark T; McCarthy, Peter C; Van Rooyen, Kathleen I

    2011-01-01

    outbreaks. Integrating standardized barcodes within food webs may ultimately change the face of community ecology. This will be most poignantly felt in food webs that have not yet been quantified. Here, more accurate and precise connections will be within the grasp of any researcher for the first time.

  7. Simple Rules Yield Complex Food Webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez, Neo

    2003-03-01

    Several of the most ambitious theories in ecology describe food webs that document the structure of strong and weak trophic links among diverse assemblages of species. Early mechanism-based theory asserted that food webs have little omnivory and several properties that are independent of species richness. This theory was overturned by empirical studies that found food webs to be much more complex, but these studies did not provide mechanistic explanations for the complexity. Here we show that a remarkably simple model fills this scientific void by successfully predicting key structural properties of the most complex and comprehensive food webs in the primary literature. These properties include the fractions of species at top, intermediate and basal trophic levels, the means and variabilities of generality, vulnerability and food-chain length, and the degrees of cannibalism, omnivory, looping and trophic similarity. More recent tests using an expanded empirical base show that our model also successfully predicts the degrees of separation, degree distributions, and sensitivities to error and attack found in large complex food webs. Using only two empirical parameters, species number and connectance, our `niche model' extends the existing `cascade model' and improves its fit by constraining species to consume a contiguous sequence of prey in a one-dimensional trophic niche. The simplicity and success of the model has allowed new advances in the combined study of the structure and nonlinear dynamics of ecological networks.

  8. Consequences of symbiosis for food web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Kooi, B W; Kuijper, L D J; Kooijman, S A L M

    2004-09-01

    Basic Lotka-Volterra type models in which mutualism (a type of symbiosis where the two populations benefit both) is taken into account, may give unbounded solutions. We exclude such behaviour using explicit mass balances and study the consequences of symbiosis for the long-term dynamic behaviour of a three species system, two prey and one predator species in the chemostat. We compose a theoretical food web where a predator feeds on two prey species that have a symbiotic relationships. In addition to a species-specific resource, the two prey populations consume the products of the partner population as well. In turn, a common predator forages on these prey populations. The temporal change in the biomass and the nutrient densities in the reactor is described by ordinary differential equations (ODE). Since products are recycled, the dynamics of these abiotic materials must be taken into account as well, and they are described by odes in a similar way as the abiotic nutrients. We use numerical bifurcation analysis to assess the long-term dynamic behaviour for varying degrees of symbiosis. Attractors can be equilibria, limit cycles and chaotic attractors depending on the control parameters of the chemostat reactor. These control parameters that can be experimentally manipulated are the nutrient density of the inflow medium and the dilution rate. Bifurcation diagrams for the three species web with a facultative symbiotic association between the two prey populations, are similar to that of a bi-trophic food chain; nutrient enrichment leads to oscillatory behaviour. Predation combined with obligatory symbiotic prey-interactions has a stabilizing effect, that is, there is stable coexistence in a larger part of the parameter space than for a bi-trophic food chain. However, combined with a large growth rate of the predator, the food web can persist only in a relatively small region of the parameter space. Then, two zero-pair bifurcation points are the organizing centers. In

  9. Climate driven changes in hydrology, nutrient cycling, and food web dynamics in surface waters of the Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koch, J. C.; Wipfli, M.; Schmutz, J.; Gurney, K.

    2011-12-01

    Arctic ecosystems are changing rapidly as a result of a warming climate. While many areas of the arctic are expected to dry as a result of warming, the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska, which extends from the Brooks Range north to the Beaufort Sea will likely become wetter, because subsurface hydrologic fluxes are constrained by thick, continuous permafrost. This landscape is characterized by large, oriented lakes and many smaller ponds that form in the low centers and troughs/edges of frost polygons. This region provides important breeding habitat for many migratory birds including loons, arctic terns, eiders, shorebirds, and white-fronted geese, among others. Increased hydrologic fluxes may provide a bottom-up control on the success of these species by altering the availability of food resources including invertebrates and fish. This work aimed to 1) characterize surface water fluxes and nutrient availability in the small streams and lake types of two study regions in the ACP, 2) predict how increased hydrological fluxes will affect the lakes, streams, and water chemistry, and 3) use nutrient additions to simulate likely changes in lake chemistry and invertebrate availability. Initial observations suggest that increasing wetland areas and availability of nutrients will result in increased invertebrate abundance, while the potential for drainage and terrestrialization of larger lakes may reduce fish abundance and overwintering habitat. These changes will likely have positive implications for insectivores and negative implications for piscivorous waterfowl.

  10. An experimental test of a fundamental food web motif.

    PubMed

    Rip, Jason M K; McCann, Kevin S; Lynn, Denis H; Fawcett, Sonia

    2010-06-01

    Large-scale changes to the world's ecosystem are resulting in the deterioration of biostructure-the complex web of species interactions that make up ecological communities. A difficult, yet crucial task is to identify food web structures, or food web motifs, that are the building blocks of this baroque network of interactions. Once identified, these food web motifs can then be examined through experiments and theory to provide mechanistic explanations for how structure governs ecosystem stability. Here, we synthesize recent ecological research to show that generalist consumers coupling resources with different interaction strengths, is one such motif. This motif amazingly occurs across an enormous range of spatial scales, and so acts to distribute coupled weak and strong interactions throughout food webs. We then perform an experiment that illustrates the importance of this motif to ecological stability. We find that weak interactions coupled to strong interactions by generalist consumers dampen strong interaction strengths and increase community stability. This study takes a critical step by isolating a common food web motif and through clear, experimental manipulation, identifies the fundamental stabilizing consequences of this structure for ecological communities. PMID:20129988

  11. An experimental test of a fundamental food web motif

    PubMed Central

    Rip, Jason M. K.; McCann, Kevin S.; Lynn, Denis H.; Fawcett, Sonia

    2010-01-01

    Large-scale changes to the world's ecosystem are resulting in the deterioration of biostructure—the complex web of species interactions that make up ecological communities. A difficult, yet crucial task is to identify food web structures, or food web motifs, that are the building blocks of this baroque network of interactions. Once identified, these food web motifs can then be examined through experiments and theory to provide mechanistic explanations for how structure governs ecosystem stability. Here, we synthesize recent ecological research to show that generalist consumers coupling resources with different interaction strengths, is one such motif. This motif amazingly occurs across an enormous range of spatial scales, and so acts to distribute coupled weak and strong interactions throughout food webs. We then perform an experiment that illustrates the importance of this motif to ecological stability. We find that weak interactions coupled to strong interactions by generalist consumers dampen strong interaction strengths and increase community stability. This study takes a critical step by isolating a common food web motif and through clear, experimental manipulation, identifies the fundamental stabilizing consequences of this structure for ecological communities. PMID:20129988

  12. Nutrient dynamics and food-web stability

    SciTech Connect

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Mulholland, P.J.; Palumbo, A.V.; Steinman, A.D.; Huston, M.A.; Elwood, J.W. )

    1989-01-01

    The importance of nutrient limitation and recycling in ecosystems is widely recognized. Nutrients, defined in the broad sense as all material elements vital to biological functions, are in such small supply that they limit production in many ecosystems. Such limitation can affect ecosystem properties, including the structure and dynamics of the food webs that link species through their feeding relationships. What are the effects of limiting nutrients on the stability of ecosystem food webs Most of the literature on food web stability centers around the dynamics of population numbers and/or biomasses. Nevertheless, a growing body of theoretical and empirical research considers the role that both nutrient limitation and recycling can play in stability. In this paper, it is the authors objective to summarize the current understanding of several important types of stability. The theoretical and empirical evidence relating these types of stability and nutrient cycling is described. A central generalization is produced in each case.

  13. Analytical solution of a model for complex food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Camacho, Juan; Guimerà, Roger; Amaral, Luís A.

    2002-03-01

    We investigate numerically and analytically a recently proposed model for food webs [Nature 404, 180 (2000)] in the limit of large web sizes and sparse interaction matrices. We obtain analytical expressions for several quantities with ecological interest, in particular, the probability distributions for the number of prey and the number of predators. We find that these distributions have fast-decaying exponential and Gaussian tails, respectively. We also find that our analytical expressions are robust to changes in the details of the model.

  14. Stability of a model food web.

    PubMed

    Szwabiński, Janusz; Pekalski, Andrzej

    2009-02-01

    We investigate numerically the stability of a model food web, introduced by Nunes Amaral and Meyer [Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 652 (1999)]. The model describes a system of species located in niches at several levels. Upper level species are predating on those from a lower level. We show that the model web is more stable when it is larger, although the number of niches is more important than the number of levels. The food web is self-organizing itself, trying to reach a certain degree of complexity, i.e., number of species and links among them. If the system cannot achieve this state, it will go extinct. We demonstrate that the average number of links per species and the reduced number of species depend in the same way on the number of niches. We also determine how the stability of the food web depends on another parameter of the model, the killing probability. Despite keeping the ratio of the creation and killing probabilities constant, increasing the latter reduces significantly the stability of the model food web. We show that connectance dependence on the number of niches has a power-type character, which agrees with the field data, and that it decreases with the number of species also as a power-type function.

  15. Environmental controls on food web regimes: A fluvial perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Power, Mary E.

    2006-02-01

    Because food web regimes control the biomass of primary producers (e.g., plants or algae), intermediate consumers (e.g., invertebrates), and large top predators (tuna, killer whales), they are of societal as well as academic interest. Some controls over food web regimes may be internal, but many are mediated by conditions or fluxes over large spatial scales. To understand locally observed changes in food webs, we must learn more about how environmental gradients and boundaries affect the fluxes of energy, materials, or organisms through landscapes or seascapes that influence local species interactions. Marine biologists and oceanographers have overcome formidable challenges of fieldwork on the high seas to make remarkable progress towards this goal. In river drainage networks, we have opportunities to address similar questions at smaller spatial scales, in ecosystems with clear physical structure and organization. Despite these advantages, we still have much to learn about linkages between fluxes from watershed landscapes and local food webs in river networks. Longitudinal (downstream) gradients in productivity, disturbance regimes, and habitat structure exert strong effects on the organisms and energy sources of river food webs, but their effects on species interactions are just beginning to be explored. In fluid ecosystems with less obvious physical structure, like the open ocean, discerning features that control the movement of organisms and affect food web dynamics is even more challenging. In both habitats, new sensing, tracing and mapping technologies have revealed how landscape or seascape features (e.g., watershed divides, ocean fronts or circulation cells) channel, contain or concentrate organisms, energy and materials. Field experiments and direct in situ observations of basic natural history, however, remain as vital as ever in interpreting the responses of biota to these features. We need field data that quantify the many spatial and temporal scales of

  16. Food-web stability signals critical transitions in temperate shallow lakes

    PubMed Central

    Kuiper, Jan J.; van Altena, Cassandra; de Ruiter, Peter C.; van Gerven, Luuk P. A.; Janse, Jan H.; Mooij, Wolf M.

    2015-01-01

    A principal aim of ecologists is to identify critical levels of environmental change beyond which ecosystems undergo radical shifts in their functioning. Both food-web theory and alternative stable states theory provide fundamental clues to mechanisms conferring stability to natural systems. Yet, it is unclear how the concept of food-web stability is associated with the resilience of ecosystems susceptible to regime change. Here, we use a combination of food web and ecosystem modelling to show that impending catastrophic shifts in shallow lakes are preceded by a destabilizing reorganization of interaction strengths in the aquatic food web. Analysis of the intricate web of trophic interactions reveals that only few key interactions, involving zooplankton, diatoms and detritus, dictate the deterioration of food-web stability. Our study exposes a tight link between food-web dynamics and the dynamics of the whole ecosystem, implying that trophic organization may serve as an empirical indicator of ecosystem resilience. PMID:26173798

  17. Simple rules yield complex food webs.

    PubMed

    Williams, R J; Martinez, N D

    2000-03-01

    Several of the most ambitious theories in ecology describe food webs that document the structure of strong and weak trophic links that is responsible for ecological dynamics among diverse assemblages of species. Early mechanism-based theory asserted that food webs have little omnivory and several properties that are independent of species richness. This theory was overturned by empirical studies that found food webs to be much more complex, but these studies did not provide mechanistic explanations for the complexity. Here we show that a remarkably simple model fills this scientific void by successfully predicting key structural properties of the most complex and comprehensive food webs in the primary literature. These properties include the fractions of species at top, intermediate and basal trophic levels, the means and variabilities of generality, vulnerability and food-chain length, and the degrees of cannibalism, omnivory, looping and trophic similarity. Using only two empirical parameters, species number and connectance, our 'niche model' extends the existing 'cascade model and improves its fit ten-fold by constraining species to consume a contiguous sequence of prey in a one-dimensional trophic niche. PMID:10724169

  18. Simple rules yield complex food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, Richard J.; Martinez, Neo D.

    2000-03-01

    Several of the most ambitious theories in ecology describe food webs that document the structure of strong and weak trophic links that is responsible for ecological dynamics among diverse assemblages of species. Early mechanism-based theory asserted that food webs have little omnivory and several properties that are independent of species richness. This theory was overturned by empirical studies that found food webs to be much more complex, but these studies did not provide mechanistic explanations for the complexity. Here we show that a remarkably simple model fills this scientific void by successfully predicting key structural properties of the most complex and comprehensive food webs in the primary literature. These properties include the fractions of species at top, intermediate and basal trophic levels, the means and variabilities of generality, vulnerability and food-chain length, and the degrees of cannibalism, omnivory, looping and trophic similarity. Using only two empirical parameters, species number and connectance, our `niche model' extends the existing `cascade model' and improves its fit ten-fold by constraining species to consume a contiguous sequence of prey in a one-dimensional trophic niche.

  19. Food-Web Structure of Seagrass Communities across Different Spatial Scales and Human Impacts

    PubMed Central

    Coll, Marta; Schmidt, Allison; Romanuk, Tamara; Lotze, Heike K.

    2011-01-01

    Seagrass beds provide important habitat for a wide range of marine species but are threatened by multiple human impacts in coastal waters. Although seagrass communities have been well-studied in the field, a quantification of their food-web structure and functioning, and how these change across space and human impacts has been lacking. Motivated by extensive field surveys and literature information, we analyzed the structural features of food webs associated with Zostera marina across 16 study sites in 3 provinces in Atlantic Canada. Our goals were to (i) quantify differences in food-web structure across local and regional scales and human impacts, (ii) assess the robustness of seagrass webs to simulated species loss, and (iii) compare food-web structure in temperate Atlantic seagrass beds with those of other aquatic ecosystems. We constructed individual food webs for each study site and cumulative webs for each province and the entire region based on presence/absence of species, and calculated 16 structural properties for each web. Our results indicate that food-web structure was similar among low impact sites across regions. With increasing human impacts associated with eutrophication, however, food-web structure show evidence of degradation as indicated by fewer trophic groups, lower maximum trophic level of the highest top predator, fewer trophic links connecting top to basal species, higher fractions of herbivores and intermediate consumers, and higher number of prey per species. These structural changes translate into functional changes with impacted sites being less robust to simulated species loss. Temperate Atlantic seagrass webs are similar to a tropical seagrass web, yet differed from other aquatic webs, suggesting consistent food-web characteristics across seagrass ecosystems in different regions. Our study illustrates that food-web structure and functioning of seagrass habitats change with human impacts and that the spatial scale of food-web analysis

  20. Food Webs in an Estuary.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dunne, Barbara B.

    The Maryland Marine Science Education Project has produced a series of mini-units in marine science education for the junior high/middle school classroom. This unit focuses on food chains in an estuary. Although the unit specifically treats the Chesapeake Bay, it may be adapted for use with similar estuarine systems. In addition, the unit may be…

  1. Linking structure and function in food webs: maximization of different ecological functions generates distinct food web structures.

    PubMed

    Yen, Jian D L; Cabral, Reniel B; Cantor, Mauricio; Hatton, Ian; Kortsch, Susanne; Patrício, Joana; Yamamichi, Masato

    2016-03-01

    Trophic interactions are central to ecosystem functioning, but the link between food web structure and ecosystem functioning remains obscure. Regularities (i.e. consistent patterns) in food web structure suggest the possibility of regularities in ecosystem functioning, which might be used to relate structure to function. We introduce a novel, genetic algorithm approach to simulate food webs with maximized throughput (a proxy for ecosystem functioning) and compare the structure of these simulated food webs to real empirical food webs using common metrics of food web structure. We repeat this analysis using robustness to secondary extinctions (a proxy for ecosystem resilience) instead of throughput to determine the relative contributions of ecosystem functioning and ecosystem resilience to food web structure. Simulated food webs that maximized robustness were similar to real food webs when connectance (i.e. levels of interaction across the food web) was high, but this result did not extend to food webs with low connectance. Simulated food webs that maximized throughput or a combination of throughput and robustness were not similar to any real food webs. Simulated maximum-throughput food webs differed markedly from maximum-robustness food webs, which suggests that maximizing different ecological functions can generate distinct food web structures. Based on our results, food web structure would appear to have a stronger relationship with ecosystem resilience than with ecosystem throughput. Our genetic algorithm approach is general and is well suited to large, realistically complex food webs. Genetic algorithms can incorporate constraints on structure and can generate outputs that can be compared directly to empirical data. Our method can be used to explore a range of maximization or minimization hypotheses, providing new perspectives on the links between structure and function in ecological systems.

  2. Priceless prices and marine food webs: Long-term patterns of change and fishing impacts in the South Brazil Bight as reflected by the seafood market

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pincinato, R. B. M.; Gasalla, M. A.

    2010-10-01

    The lack of market variables in fishery systems (i.e., prices and quantities) has often been cited as one reason for the particular difficulty of understanding whole marine ecosystem change and its management under a broader ecosystem perspective. This paper shows the results of efforts to tackle this problem in the South Brazil Bight by compiling and analyzing in-depth an unprecedented 40-year database from the region’s largest wholesale seafood market, based in the megacity of São Paulo. Fishery landings and market values for the period 1968-2007 were analyzed primarily by updated trophic level classes and multispecies indicators including the (1) marine trophic index (MTI), (2) weighted price, and (3) log relative price index (LRPI) which relates prices and trophic levels. Moreover, an inferential analysis of major seafood category statistical trends in market prices and quantities and their positive and negative correlations was undertaken. In general, these market trends contributed substantially to identifying and clarifying the changes that occurred. Considerations of the behavior of demand, supply and markets are included. In particular, while the MTI did not support a “fishing down the marine food web” hypothesis, other indicators did show the continued scarcity of major high trophic level categories and fisheries target species. Overall, the results indicate that the analysis of fishery landings, or of certain other indicators alone, can mask real changes. Rather, a joint ecological-econometric analysis provides better evidence of the direction of ecosystem pressures and stock health. This method for detecting market changes across the food web may be particularly helpful for systems considered data-poor but where fish market data have been archived. This study further elucidates historical changes and fishing impacts in the South Brazil Bight ecosystem.

  3. DEEPWATER AND NEARSHORE FOOD WEB CHARACTERIZATIONS IN LAKE SUPERIOR

    EPA Science Inventory

    Due to the difficulty associated with sampling deep aquatic systems, food web relationships among deepwater fauna are often poorly known. We are characterizing nearshore versus offshore habitats in the Great Lakes and investigating food web linkages among profundal, pelagic, and ...

  4. Extinction risk and structure of a food web model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pękalski, Andrzej; Szwabiński, Janusz; Bena, Ioana; Droz, Michel

    2008-03-01

    We investigate in detail the model of a trophic web proposed by Amaral and Meyer [Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 652 (1999)]. We focus on small-size systems that are relevant for real biological food webs and for which the fluctuations play an important role. We show, using Monte Carlo simulations, that such webs can be nonviable, leading to extinction of all species in small and/or weakly coupled systems. Estimations of the extinction times and survival chances are also given. We show that before the extinction the fraction of highly connected species (“omnivores”) is increasing. Viable food webs exhibit a pyramidal structure, where the density of occupied niches is higher at lower trophic levels, and moreover the occupations of adjacent levels are closely correlated. We also demonstrate that the distribution of the lengths of food chains has an exponential character and changes weakly with the parameters of the model. On the contrary, the distribution of avalanche sizes of the extinct species depends strongly on the connectedness of the web. For rather loosely connected systems, we recover the power-law type of behavior with the same exponent as found in earlier studies, while for densely connected webs the distribution is not of a power-law type.

  5. Extinction risk and structure of a food web model.

    PubMed

    Pekalski, Andrzej; Szwabiński, Janusz; Bena, Ioana; Droz, Michel

    2008-03-01

    We investigate in detail the model of a trophic web proposed by Amaral and Meyer [Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 652 (1999)]. We focus on small-size systems that are relevant for real biological food webs and for which the fluctuations play an important role. We show, using Monte Carlo simulations, that such webs can be nonviable, leading to extinction of all species in small and/or weakly coupled systems. Estimations of the extinction times and survival chances are also given. We show that before the extinction the fraction of highly connected species ("omnivores") is increasing. Viable food webs exhibit a pyramidal structure, where the density of occupied niches is higher at lower trophic levels, and moreover the occupations of adjacent levels are closely correlated. We also demonstrate that the distribution of the lengths of food chains has an exponential character and changes weakly with the parameters of the model. On the contrary, the distribution of avalanche sizes of the extinct species depends strongly on the connectedness of the web. For rather loosely connected systems, we recover the power-law type of behavior with the same exponent as found in earlier studies, while for densely connected webs the distribution is not of a power-law type.

  6. Infectious disease agents mediate interaction in food webs and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Selakovic, Sanja; de Ruiter, Peter C; Heesterbeek, Hans

    2014-02-22

    Infectious agents are part of food webs and ecosystems via the relationship with their host species that, in turn, interact with both hosts and non-hosts. Through these interactions, infectious agents influence food webs in terms of structure, functioning and stability. The present literature shows a broad range of impacts of infectious agents on food webs, and by cataloguing that range, we worked towards defining the various mechanisms and their specific effects. To explore the impact, a direct approach is to study changes in food-web properties with infectious agents as separate species in the web, acting as additional nodes, with links to their host species. An indirect approach concentrates not on adding new nodes and links, but on the ways that infectious agents affect the existing links across host and non-host nodes, by influencing the 'quality' of consumer-resource interaction as it depends on the epidemiological state host involved. Both approaches are natural from an ecological point of view, but the indirect approach may connect more straightforwardly to commonly used tools in infectious disease dynamics.

  7. Infectious disease agents mediate interaction in food webs and ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Selakovic, Sanja; de Ruiter, Peter C.; Heesterbeek, Hans

    2014-01-01

    Infectious agents are part of food webs and ecosystems via the relationship with their host species that, in turn, interact with both hosts and non-hosts. Through these interactions, infectious agents influence food webs in terms of structure, functioning and stability. The present literature shows a broad range of impacts of infectious agents on food webs, and by cataloguing that range, we worked towards defining the various mechanisms and their specific effects. To explore the impact, a direct approach is to study changes in food-web properties with infectious agents as separate species in the web, acting as additional nodes, with links to their host species. An indirect approach concentrates not on adding new nodes and links, but on the ways that infectious agents affect the existing links across host and non-host nodes, by influencing the ‘quality’ of consumer–resource interaction as it depends on the epidemiological state host involved. Both approaches are natural from an ecological point of view, but the indirect approach may connect more straightforwardly to commonly used tools in infectious disease dynamics. PMID:24403336

  8. The characteristics of species in an evolutionary food web model.

    PubMed

    Lugo, Carlos A; McKane, Alan J

    2008-06-21

    We explore the consequences of modifying the way in which species are defined in an evolutionary food web model. In the original version of the model, the species were defined in terms of a fixed number of features, chosen from a large number of possibilities. These features represented phenotypic and behavioural characteristics of the species. Speciation consisted in occasionally replacing one of the features by another. Here we modify this scheme by firstly allowing for a richer structure and secondly by testing whether we are able to eliminate the need for an explicit choice of features altogether. In the first case we allow for changing the number of features which define a species, as well as their nature, and find that in the resulting webs the higher trophic levels typically contain species with the greatest number of features. In the second case, by a simplification of the mechanisms for inter and intra-species competition, we construct a model without any explicit features and find that we are still able to grow model food webs. We assess the quality of the food webs produced and discuss the consequences of our findings for the future modelling of food webs.

  9. Land use alters the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to drought

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    de Vries, Franciska T.; Liiri, Mira E.; Bjørnlund, Lisa; Bowker, Matthew A.; Christensen, Søren; Setälä, Heikki; Bardgett, Richard D.

    2012-01-01

    Soils deliver several ecosystem services including carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling, which are of central importance to climate mitigation and sustainable food production. Soil biota play an important role in carbon and nitrogen cycling, and, although the effects of land use on soil food webs are well documented the consequences for their resistance and resilience to climate change are not known. We compared the resistance and resilience to drought--which is predicted to increase under climate change of soil food webs of two common land-use systems: intensively managed wheat with a bacterial-based soil food web and extensively managed grassland with a fungal-based soil food web. We found that the fungal-based food web, and the processes of C and N loss it governs, of grassland soil was more resistant, although not resilient, and better able to adapt to drought than the bacterial-based food web of wheat soil. Structural equation modelling revealed that fungal-based soil food webs and greater microbial evenness mitigated C and N loss. Our findings show that land use strongly affects the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to climate change, and that extensively managed grassland promotes more resistant, and adaptable, fungal-based soil food webs.

  10. A Biomass Flow Approach to Population Models and Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Getz, Wayne M.

    2011-01-01

    The dominant differential equation paradigm for modeling the population dynamics of species interacting in the framework of a food web retains at its core the basic prey-predator and competition models formulation by Alfred J. Lotka (1880–1945) and Vito Volterra (1860–1940) nearly nine decades ago. This paradigm lacks a trophic-level-independent formulation of population growth leading to ambiguities in how to treat populations that are simultaneously both prey and predator. Also, this paradigm does not fundamentally include inertial (i.e. change resisting) processes needed to account for the response of populations to fluctuating resource environments. Here I present an approach that corrects both these deficits and provides a unified framework for accounting for biomass transformation in food webs that include both live and dead components of all species in the system. This biomass transformation formulation (BTW) allows for a unified treatment of webs that include consumers of both live and dead material—both carnivores and carcasivores, herbivores and detritivores—and incorporates scavengers, parasites, and other neglected food web consumption categories in a coherent manner. I trace how BTW is an outgrowth of the metaphysiological growth modeling paradigm and I provide a general compact formulation of BTW in terms of a three-variable differential equation formulation for each species in the food web: viz. live biomass, dead biomass, and a food-intake-related measure called deficit-stress. I then illustrate the application of this new paradigm to provide insights into two-species competition in variable environments and discuss application of BTW to food webs that incorporate parasites and pathogens.

  11. Effects of extinction on food web structures on an evolutionary time scale.

    PubMed

    Hironaga, Ryo; Yamamura, Norio

    2010-03-21

    Extinction affected food web structure in paleoecosystems. Recent theoretical studies that examined the effects of extinction intensity on food web structure on ecological time scales have considered extinction to involve episodic events, with pre-extinction food webs becoming established without dynamics. However, in terms of the paleontological time scale, food web structures are generated from feedback with repeated extinctions, because extinction frequency is affected by food web structure, and food web structure itself is a product of previous extinctions. We constructed a simulation model of changes in tri-trophic-level food webs to examine how continual extinction events affect food webs on an evolutionary time scale. We showed that under high extinction intensity (1) species diversity, especially that of consumer species, decreased; (2) the total population density at each trophic level decreased, while the densities of individual species increased; and (3) the trophic link density of the food web increased. In contrast to previous models, our results were based on an assumption of long-term food web development and are able to explain overall trends posited by empirical investigations based on fossil records.

  12. Changes in food web structure under scenarios of overfishing in the southern Benguela: Comparison of the Ecosim and OSMOSE modelling approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Travers, M.; Watermeyer, K.; Shannon, L. J.; Shin, Y.-J.

    2010-01-01

    Ecosystem models provide a platform allowing exploration into the possible responses of marine food webs to fishing pressure and various potential management decisions. In this study we investigate the particular effects of overfishing on the structure and function of the southern Benguela food web, using two models with different underlying assumptions: the spatialized, size-based individual-based model, OSMOSE, and the trophic mass-balance model, Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE). Starting from the same reference state of the southern Benguela upwelling ecosystem during the 1990s, we compare the response of the food web to scenarios of overfishing using these two modelling approaches. A scenario of increased fishing mortality is applied to two distinct functional groups: i) two species of Cape hake, representing important target predatory fish, and ii) the forage species anchovy, sardine and redeye. In these simulations, fishing mortality on the selected functional groups is doubled for 10 years, followed by 10 years at the initial fishing mortality. We compare the food web states before the increase of fishing mortality, after 10 years of overfishing and after a further 10 years during which fishing was returned to initial levels. In order to compare the simulated food web structures with the reference state, and between the two modelling approaches, we use a set of trophic indicators: the mean trophic level of the community and in catches, the trophic pyramid (biomass per discrete trophic level), and the predatory/forage fish biomass ratio. OSMOSE and EwE present globally similar results for the trophic functioning of the ecosystem under fishing pressure: the biomass of targeted species decreases whereas that of their potential competitors increases. The reaction of distant species is more diverse, depending on the feeding links between the compartments. The mean trophic level of the community does not vary enough to be used for assessing ecosystem impacts of fishing

  13. Trophic coherence determines food-web stability

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Samuel; Domínguez-García, Virginia; Donetti, Luca; Muñoz, Miguel A.

    2014-01-01

    Why are large, complex ecosystems stable? Both theory and simulations of current models predict the onset of instability with growing size and complexity, so for decades it has been conjectured that ecosystems must have some unidentified structural property exempting them from this outcome. We show that trophic coherence—a hitherto ignored feature of food webs that current structural models fail to reproduce—is a better statistical predictor of linear stability than size or complexity. Furthermore, we prove that a maximally coherent network with constant interaction strengths will always be linearly stable. We also propose a simple model that, by correctly capturing the trophic coherence of food webs, accurately reproduces their stability and other basic structural features. Most remarkably, our model shows that stability can increase with size and complexity. This suggests a key to May’s paradox, and a range of opportunities and concerns for biodiversity conservation. PMID:25468963

  14. Trophic coherence determines food-web stability.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Samuel; Domínguez-García, Virginia; Donetti, Luca; Muñoz, Miguel A

    2014-12-16

    Why are large, complex ecosystems stable? Both theory and simulations of current models predict the onset of instability with growing size and complexity, so for decades it has been conjectured that ecosystems must have some unidentified structural property exempting them from this outcome. We show that trophic coherence--a hitherto ignored feature of food webs that current structural models fail to reproduce--is a better statistical predictor of linear stability than size or complexity. Furthermore, we prove that a maximally coherent network with constant interaction strengths will always be linearly stable. We also propose a simple model that, by correctly capturing the trophic coherence of food webs, accurately reproduces their stability and other basic structural features. Most remarkably, our model shows that stability can increase with size and complexity. This suggests a key to May's paradox, and a range of opportunities and concerns for biodiversity conservation.

  15. Trophic coherence determines food-web stability.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Samuel; Domínguez-García, Virginia; Donetti, Luca; Muñoz, Miguel A

    2014-12-16

    Why are large, complex ecosystems stable? Both theory and simulations of current models predict the onset of instability with growing size and complexity, so for decades it has been conjectured that ecosystems must have some unidentified structural property exempting them from this outcome. We show that trophic coherence--a hitherto ignored feature of food webs that current structural models fail to reproduce--is a better statistical predictor of linear stability than size or complexity. Furthermore, we prove that a maximally coherent network with constant interaction strengths will always be linearly stable. We also propose a simple model that, by correctly capturing the trophic coherence of food webs, accurately reproduces their stability and other basic structural features. Most remarkably, our model shows that stability can increase with size and complexity. This suggests a key to May's paradox, and a range of opportunities and concerns for biodiversity conservation. PMID:25468963

  16. Food web models: a plea for groups.

    PubMed

    Allesina, Stefano; Pascual, Mercedes

    2009-07-01

    The concept of a group is ubiquitous in biology. It underlies classifications in evolution and ecology, including those used to describe phylogenetic levels, the habitat and functional roles of organisms in ecosystems. Surprisingly, this concept is not explicitly included in simple models for the structure of food webs, the ecological networks formed by consumer-resource interactions. We present here the simplest possible model based on groups, and show that it performs substantially better than current models at predicting the structure of large food webs. Our group-based model can be applied to different types of biological and non-biological networks, and for the first time merges in the same framework two important notions in network theory: that of compartments (sets of highly interacting nodes) and that of roles (sets of nodes that have similar interaction patterns). This model provides a basis to examine the significance of groups in biological networks and to develop more accurate models for ecological network structure. It is especially relevant at a time when a new generation of empirical data is providing increasingly large food webs.

  17. Stable isotopes dissect aquatic food webs from the top to the bottom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Middelburg, J. J.

    2014-04-01

    Stable isotopes have been used extensively to study food-web functioning, that is, the flow of energy and matter among organisms. Traditional food-web studies are based on the natural variability of isotopes and are limited to larger organisms that can be physically separated from their environment. Recent developments allow isotope ratio measurements of microbes and this in turn allows the measurement of entire food webs, in other words, from small producers at the bottom to large consumers at the top. Here, I provide a concise review on the use and potential of stable isotopes to reconstruct end-to-end food webs. I will first discuss food web reconstruction based on natural abundances isotope data and will then show that the use of stable isotopes as deliberately added tracers provides complementary information. Finally, challenges and opportunities for end-to-end food web reconstructions in a changing world are discussed.

  18. Ecological food web analysis for chemical risk assessment.

    PubMed

    Preziosi, Damian V; Pastorok, Robert A

    2008-12-01

    Food web analysis can be a critical component of ecological risk assessment, yet it has received relatively little attention among risk assessors. Food web data are currently used in modeling bioaccumulation of toxic chemicals and, to a limited extent, in the determination of the ecological significance of risks. Achieving more realism in ecological risk assessments requires new analysis tools and models that incorporate accurate information on key receptors in a food web paradigm. Application of food web analysis in risk assessments demands consideration of: 1) different kinds of food webs; 2) definition of trophic guilds; 3) variation in food webs with habitat, space, and time; and 4) issues for basic sampling design and collection of dietary data. The different kinds of food webs include connectance webs, materials flow webs, and functional (or interaction) webs. These three kinds of webs play different roles throughout various phases of an ecological risk assessment, but risk assessors have failed to distinguish among web types. When modeling food webs, choices must be made regarding the level of complexity for the web, assignment of species to trophic guilds, selection of representative species for guilds, use of average diets, the characterization of variation among individuals or guild members within a web, and the spatial and temporal scales/dynamics of webs. Integrating exposure and effects data in ecological models for risk assessment of toxic chemicals relies on coupling food web analysis with bioaccumulation models (e.g., Gobas-type models for fish and their food webs), wildlife exposure models, dose-response models, and population dynamics models. PMID:18703218

  19. Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lafferty, Kevin D.; Allesina, Stefano; Arim, Matias; Briggs, Cherie J.; De Leo, Giulio A.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Dunne, Jennifer A.; Johnson, Pieter T.J.; Kuris, Armand M.; Marcogliese, David J.; Martinez, Neo D.; Memmott, Jane; Marquet, Pablo A.; McLaughlin, John P.; Mordecai, Eerin A.; Pascual, Mercedes; Poulin, Robert; Thieltges, David W.

    2008-01-01

    Parasitism is the most common consumer strategy among organisms, yet only recently has there been a call for the inclusion of infectious disease agents in food webs. The value of this effort hinges on whether parasites affect food-web properties. Increasing evidence suggests that parasites have the potential to uniquely alter food-web topology in terms of chain length, connectance and robustness. In addition, parasites might affect food-web stability, interaction strength and energy flow. Food-web structure also affects infectious disease dynamics because parasites depend on the ecological networks in which they live. Empirically, incorporating parasites into food webs is straightforward. We may start with existing food webs and add parasites as nodes, or we may try to build food webs around systems for which we already have a good understanding of infectious processes. In the future, perhaps researchers will add parasites while they construct food webs. Less clear is how food-web theory can accommodate parasites. This is a deep and central problem in theoretical biology and applied mathematics. For instance, is representing parasites with complex life cycles as a single node equivalent to representing other species with ontogenetic niche shifts as a single node? Can parasitism fit into fundamental frameworks such as the niche model? Can we integrate infectious disease models into the emerging field of dynamic food-web modelling? Future progress will benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations between ecologists and infectious disease biologists.

  20. Evolutionary emergence of size-structured food webs.

    PubMed

    Loeuille, Nicolas; Loreau, Michel

    2005-04-19

    Explaining the structure of terrestrial and aquatic food webs remains one of the most important challenges of ecological theory. Most existing models use emergent properties of food webs, such as diversity and connectance as parameters, to determine other food-web descriptors. Lower-level processes, in particular adaptation (whether by behavioral, developmental, or evolutionary mechanisms), are usually not considered. Here, we show that complex, realistic food webs may emerge by evolution from a single ancestor based on very simple ecological and evolutionary rules. In our model, adaptation acts on body size, whose impact on the metabolism and interactions of organisms is well established. Based on parameters defined at the organism scale, the model predicts emergent properties at the food-web scale. Variations of two key parameters (width of consumption niche and competition intensity) allow very different food-web structures and functionings to emerge, which are similar to those observed in some of the best-documented food webs.

  1. Evidence for the persistence of food web structure after amphibian extirpation in a Neotropical stream.

    PubMed

    Barnum, Thomas R; Drake, John M; Colón-Gaud, Checo; Rugenski, Amanda T; Frauendorf, Therese C; Connelly, Scott; Kilham, Susan S; Whiles, Matt R; Lips, Karen R; Pringle, Catherine M

    2015-08-01

    Species losses are predicted to simplify food web structure, and disease-driven amphibian declines in Central America offer an opportunity to test this prediction. Assessment of insect community composition, combined with gut content analyses, was used to generate periphyton-insect food webs for a Panamanian stream, both pre- and post-amphibian decline. We then used network analysis to assess the effects of amphibian declines on food web structure. Although 48% of consumer taxa, including many insect taxa, were lost between pre- and post-amphibian decline sampling dates, connectance declined by less than 3%. We then quantified the resilience of food web structure by calculating the number of expected cascading extirpations from the loss of tadpoles. This analysis showed the expected effects of species loss on connectance and linkage density to be more than 60% and 40%, respectively, than were actually observed. Instead, new trophic linkages in the post-decline food web reorganized the food web topology, changing the identity of "hub" taxa, and consequently reducing the effects of amphibian declines on many food web attributes. Resilience of food web attributes was driven by a combination of changes in consumer diets, particularly those of insect predators, as well as the appearance of generalist insect consumers, suggesting that food web structure is maintained by factors independent of the original trophic linkages.

  2. Evidence for the persistence of food web structure after amphibian extirpation in a Neotropical stream.

    PubMed

    Barnum, Thomas R; Drake, John M; Colón-Gaud, Checo; Rugenski, Amanda T; Frauendorf, Therese C; Connelly, Scott; Kilham, Susan S; Whiles, Matt R; Lips, Karen R; Pringle, Catherine M

    2015-08-01

    Species losses are predicted to simplify food web structure, and disease-driven amphibian declines in Central America offer an opportunity to test this prediction. Assessment of insect community composition, combined with gut content analyses, was used to generate periphyton-insect food webs for a Panamanian stream, both pre- and post-amphibian decline. We then used network analysis to assess the effects of amphibian declines on food web structure. Although 48% of consumer taxa, including many insect taxa, were lost between pre- and post-amphibian decline sampling dates, connectance declined by less than 3%. We then quantified the resilience of food web structure by calculating the number of expected cascading extirpations from the loss of tadpoles. This analysis showed the expected effects of species loss on connectance and linkage density to be more than 60% and 40%, respectively, than were actually observed. Instead, new trophic linkages in the post-decline food web reorganized the food web topology, changing the identity of "hub" taxa, and consequently reducing the effects of amphibian declines on many food web attributes. Resilience of food web attributes was driven by a combination of changes in consumer diets, particularly those of insect predators, as well as the appearance of generalist insect consumers, suggesting that food web structure is maintained by factors independent of the original trophic linkages. PMID:26405736

  3. Material exchange and food web of seagrass beds in the Sylt-Rømø Bight: how significant are community changes at the ecosystem level?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asmus, H.; Asmus, R.

    2000-07-01

    subtidal part, the function of the ecosystem as a source for particles increased, supposing that all seagrass beds were lost from the area. During the vegetation period, seagrass beds act as a storage compartment for material accumulated in the living biomass of the community. There was great biodiversity among the plant and animal groups found in intertidal seagrass beds of the Sylt-Rømø Bay, representing 50-86% of the total number of species investigated, depending on the particular group. Since most species are not exclusively seagrass residents, the loss of intertidal seagrass beds would be of minor importance for biodiversity at the ecosystem level. Food web structure in seagrass beds is different from other intertidal communities. Primary production and detritus input is high, but secondary production is similar to that of unvegetated areas, although the relative importance of the trophic guilds is different. The loss of seagrass beds leads to profound alterations in the food web of the total ecosystem. Historical as well as recent changes in material fluxes and energy flow due to man-made alterations to the ecosystem are discussed.

  4. The trophodynamics of PCBs in the Lake Ontario food web

    SciTech Connect

    Metcalfe, T.L.; Metcalfe, C.D.

    1995-12-31

    Samples of water, sediment, invertebrates, fish, and herring gull eggs were collected in north-central Lake Ontario and were analyzed to determine the concentrations of PCBs, including non-ortho substituted PCB congeners, in the benthic and pelagic components of the Lake Ontario food web. There was biomagnification of PCBs in the food web from benthic and planktonic invertebrates through to lake trout and gulls. However, all of the fish species had about the same lipid-normalized concentrations of PCBs. The relative proportions of the PCB congeners changed as they passed through the food web. An index of metabolism for each PCB congener was calculated by comparing the concentrations of PCB congeners in various predator/prey groupings within the food web. These data indicate that invertebrates, fish and gulls have different capabilities in metabolizing and eliminating specific PCB congeners. While tri and tetrachlorinated congeners with no chlorine substitution at meta-para carbons on the biphenyl ring were readily metabolized by all taxa, only gulls appeared to be capable of metabolizing the PCBs with no chlorine substitution at ortho-meta positions. The trophodynamics of nonortho substituted (coplanar) PCBs did not differ from other PCB congeners of similar chlorine number, which indicates that non-ortho congeners are not any more persistent in biota than other PCBs.

  5. Critical patch sizes for food-web modules.

    PubMed

    Martinson, Holly M; Fagan, William F; Denno, Robert F

    2012-08-01

    Because patch size and connectivity may strongly impact the assemblage of species that occur on a patch, the types of food-web interactions that occur among those species may also depend on spatial structure. Here, we identify whether food-web interactions among salt-marsh-inhabiting arthropods vary with patch size and connectivity, and how such changes in trophic structure might feed back to influence the spatial distribution of prey. In a multiyear survey, patch-restricted predators exhibited steeper occupancy-patch-size relationships than herbivores, and species' critical patch sizes were correlated with overall rarity. As a result, the presence of food-web modules depended strongly on patch size: large and well-connected patches supported complex food-web modules, but only the simplest modules involving the most abundant species were found on small patches. Habitat-generalist spiders dominated on small patches, and predation pressure from such species may contribute to the observed lower densities of mesopredators on small patches. Overall, patch size and connectivity influenced the types of modules present on a patch through differential loss of rare, patch-restricted predators, but predation by generalist predators may be a key mechanism influencing the spatial structure of certain prey species.

  6. Food web model with detritus path

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szwabiński, Janusz; Pękalski, Andrzej; Bena, Ioana; Droz, Michel

    2010-07-01

    We present and study a lattice (Monte Carlo) model of a food web consisting of three levels. Agents on the lowest level produce food from dead agents (detritus) of the upper levels and are themselves eaten by the first level species, which in turn are prey for the top level species. Agents which do not find food in a given time, die with a given probability, while eating enables them to produce offspring in their neighborhood. This rule applies to species on all levels, including the lowest one. The dynamics is therefore nutrient limited. We are considering two pathways - grazers and detritus (using dead organic matter). We show that the emerging dynamics is more complex than the ordinary predator-prey systems in which bottom species are indestructible. We investigate the viability of our model and we construct appropriate (extinct-alive) phase diagrams. We demonstrate how the temporal fluctuations in the densities of the three populations are correlated. We show also that the density of the middle level agents plays the key role in the viability of the investigated food web.

  7. Computer simulations of sympatric speciation in a simple food web.

    PubMed

    Luz-Burgoa, K; Dell, Tony; de Oliveira, S Moss

    2005-07-01

    Galapagos finches, have motivated much theoretical research aimed at understanding the processes associated with the formation of the species. Inspired by them, in this paper we investigate the process of sympatric speciation in a simple food web model. For that we modify the individual-based Penna model that has been widely used to study aging as well as other evolutionary processes. Initially, our web consists of a primary food source and a single herbivore species that feeds on this resource. Subsequently we introduce a predator that feeds on the herbivore. In both instances we manipulate directly a basal resource distribution and monitor the changes in the populations. Sympatric speciation is obtained for the top species in both cases, and our results suggest that the speciation velocity depends on how far up, in the food chain, the focus population is feeding. Simulations are done with three different sexual imprinting-like mechanisms, in order to discuss adaptation by natural selection.

  8. Exploring Fish Diversity as a Determinant of Ecosystem Properties in Aquatic Food Webs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carey, Michael P.

    2009-01-01

    Dramatic biodiversity changes occurring globally from species loss and invasion have altered native food webs and ecosystem processes. My research objectives are to understand the consequences of fish diversity to freshwater systems by (1) examining the food web consequences of multiple top predators, (2) determining how biodiversity influences…

  9. Food web heterogeneity and succession in created saltmarshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nordstrom, M C; Demopoulos, Amanda; Whitcraft, CR; Rismondo, A.; McMillan, P.; Gonzales, J P; Levin, L A

    2015-01-01

    1. Ecological restoration must achieve functional as well as structural recovery. Functional metrics for reestablishment of trophic interactions can be used to complement traditional monitoring of structural attributes. In addition, topographic effects on food web structure provide added information within a restoration context; often, created sites may require spatial heterogeneity to effectively match structure and function of natural habitats. 2. We addressed both of these issues in our study of successional development of benthic food web structure, with focus on bottom–up driven changes in macroinvertebrate consumer assemblages in the salt marshes of the Venice Lagoon, Italy. We combined quantified estimates of the changing community composition with stable isotope data (13C:12C and 15N:14N) to compare the general trophic structure between created (2–14 years) marshes and reference sites and along topographic elevation gradients within salt marshes. 3. Macrofaunal invertebrate consumers exhibited local, habitat-specific trophic patterns. Stable isotope-based trophic structure changed with increasing marsh age, in particular with regards to mid-elevation (Salicornia) habitats. In young marshes, the mid-elevation consumer signatures resembled those of unvegetated ponds. The mid elevation of older and natural marshes had a more distinct Salicornia-zone food web, occasionally resembling that of the highest (Sarcocornia-dominated) elevation. In summary, this indicates that primary producers and availability of vascular plant detritus structure consumer trophic interactions and the flow of carbon. 4. Functionally different consumers, subsurface-feeding detritivores (Oligochaeta) and surface grazers (Hydrobia sp.), showed distinct but converging trajectories of isotopic change over time, indicating that successional development may be asymmetric between ‘brown’ (detrital) guilds and ‘green’ (grazing) guilds in the food web. 5. Synthesis and applications

  10. Current trends in food web theory report on a food web workshop. Environmental Sciences Division Publication No. 2224

    SciTech Connect

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Post, W.M.; Sugihara, G.

    1983-10-01

    This report summarizes the Food Web Workshop, held at Fontana Village Inn, October 25-27, 1982. The objective of the workshop was to review and assess recent progress in the understanding of ecological food webs. The workshop focused on three main areas: (1) what has been observed of food web patterns (food chain length, intervality, predator-prey ratios, etc.), (2) processes involved in food chains (energy flow and nutrient cycles), and (3) the dynamic behavior of food webs (Lyapunov stability, resilience, etc.). The introduction reviews some of the important contributions to food web theory during the past decade. The synopses of the presentations by invited speakers address many of the specific themes in current thought on food webs.

  11. Native and nonnative fish populations of the Colorado River are food limited--evidence from new food web analyses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kennedy, Theodore A.; Cross, Wyatt F.; Hall, Robert O.; Baxter, Colden V.; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J.

    2013-01-01

    Fish populations in the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam appear to be limited by the availability of high-quality invertebrate prey. Midge and blackfly production is low and nonnative rainbow trout in Glen Canyon and native fishes in Grand Canyon consume virtually all of the midge and blackfly biomass that is produced annually. In Glen Canyon, the invertebrate assemblage is dominated by nonnative New Zealand mudsnails, the food web has a simple structure, and transfers of energy from the base of the web (algae) to the top of the web (rainbow trout) are inefficient. The food webs in Grand Canyon are more complex relative to Glen Canyon, because, on average, each species in the web is involved in more interactions and feeding connections. Based on theory and on studies from other ecosystems, the structure and organization of Grand Canyon food webs should make them more stable and less susceptible to large changes following perturbations of the flow regime relative to food webs in Glen Canyon. In support of this hypothesis, Grand Canyon food webs were much less affected by a 2008 controlled flood relative to the food web in Glen Canyon.

  12. Simulation approach to understanding the processes that structure food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Jager, H.I.; Gardner, R.H.; DeAngelis, D.L.; Post, W.M.

    1984-08-01

    A simulation model of food web dynamics, WEB, was constructed and used in Monte Carlo experiments to study the relationship between structure and function in food webs. Four main experiments were designed using WEB. The first tested the robustness of food web structures at equilibrium to variations in the functional response of predators in the food web to the densities of their prey. The second experiment clarified the roles of predation and resource limitation in the process of structuring food webs. A third experiment studied the influence of productivity on food web structure and function using simulated food webs. The final experiment was designed to study the differential successes of generalists and specialists. The main advantage gained by using a simulation approach in each of these experiments was the ability to assess the roles played by processes of predation and competition in structuring model food webs. This was accomplished by interpreting the order of extinction events that occurred in the simulations and relating these to the species configurations at equilibrium. 61 references, 23 figures.

  13. Consumers indirectly increase infection risk in grassland food webs.

    PubMed

    Borer, Elizabeth T; Mitchell, Charles E; Power, Alison G; Seabloom, Eric W

    2009-01-13

    Most pathogens exist within complicated food webs of interacting hosts, vectors, competitors, and predators. Although theory has demonstrated a variety of mechanisms by which predation and competition in food webs can indirectly control infection risk in hosts, there have until now been no experimental tests of this theory. We sampled the effect of long-term exclusion of large vertebrate herbivores on the prevalence of infection by a group of aphid-vectored viruses that infect grasses (barley and cereal yellow dwarf viruses) in an oak savannah in central California. We found that pathogen prevalence was approximately 4-fold higher in the presence of consumers than in areas where they were excluded. Vertebrate consumers did not directly alter infection rates by this aphid-vectored pathogen group, but rather increased infection risk by increasing the relative abundance of highly-competent hosts in the grassland community. This large-scale experiment, measuring changes in host abundance and infection risk in response to altered consumption rates, confirms theoretical predictions that consumers can indirectly increase infection risk by altering the composition of whole communities. Most importantly, these results demonstrate that, even in complex natural communities, alterations to food web composition such as consumer invasion or extinction can lead to significant impacts that cascade throughout entire communities, including changes in infection risk.

  14. Benchmarking successional progress in a quantitative food web.

    PubMed

    Boit, Alice; Gaedke, Ursula

    2014-01-01

    Central to ecology and ecosystem management, succession theory aims to mechanistically explain and predict the assembly and development of ecological communities. Yet processes at lower hierarchical levels, e.g. at the species and functional group level, are rarely mechanistically linked to the under-investigated system-level processes which drive changes in ecosystem properties and functioning and are comparable across ecosystems. As a model system for secondary succession, seasonal plankton succession during the growing season is readily observable and largely driven autogenically. We used a long-term dataset from large, deep Lake Constance comprising biomasses, auto- and heterotrophic production, food quality, functional diversity, and mass-balanced food webs of the energy and nutrient flows between functional guilds of plankton and partly fish. Extracting population- and system-level indices from this dataset, we tested current hypotheses about the directionality of successional progress which are rooted in ecosystem theory, the metabolic theory of ecology, quantitative food web theory, thermodynamics, and information theory. Our results indicate that successional progress in Lake Constance is quantifiable, passing through predictable stages. Mean body mass, functional diversity, predator-prey weight ratios, trophic positions, system residence times of carbon and nutrients, and the complexity of the energy flow patterns increased during succession. In contrast, both the mass-specific metabolic activity and the system export decreased, while the succession rate exhibited a bimodal pattern. The weighted connectance introduced here represents a suitable index for assessing the evenness and interconnectedness of energy flows during succession. Diverging from earlier predictions, ascendency and eco-exergy did not increase during succession. Linking aspects of functional diversity to metabolic theory and food web complexity, we reconcile previously disjoint bodies of

  15. Benchmarking Successional Progress in a Quantitative Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Boit, Alice; Gaedke, Ursula

    2014-01-01

    Central to ecology and ecosystem management, succession theory aims to mechanistically explain and predict the assembly and development of ecological communities. Yet processes at lower hierarchical levels, e.g. at the species and functional group level, are rarely mechanistically linked to the under-investigated system-level processes which drive changes in ecosystem properties and functioning and are comparable across ecosystems. As a model system for secondary succession, seasonal plankton succession during the growing season is readily observable and largely driven autogenically. We used a long-term dataset from large, deep Lake Constance comprising biomasses, auto- and heterotrophic production, food quality, functional diversity, and mass-balanced food webs of the energy and nutrient flows between functional guilds of plankton and partly fish. Extracting population- and system-level indices from this dataset, we tested current hypotheses about the directionality of successional progress which are rooted in ecosystem theory, the metabolic theory of ecology, quantitative food web theory, thermodynamics, and information theory. Our results indicate that successional progress in Lake Constance is quantifiable, passing through predictable stages. Mean body mass, functional diversity, predator-prey weight ratios, trophic positions, system residence times of carbon and nutrients, and the complexity of the energy flow patterns increased during succession. In contrast, both the mass-specific metabolic activity and the system export decreased, while the succession rate exhibited a bimodal pattern. The weighted connectance introduced here represents a suitable index for assessing the evenness and interconnectedness of energy flows during succession. Diverging from earlier predictions, ascendency and eco-exergy did not increase during succession. Linking aspects of functional diversity to metabolic theory and food web complexity, we reconcile previously disjoint bodies of

  16. Anthropogenic effects are associated with a lower persistence of marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Gilarranz, Luis J; Mora, Camilo; Bascompte, Jordi

    2016-01-01

    Marine coastal ecosystems are among the most exposed to global environmental change, with reported effects on species biomass, species richness and length of trophic chains. By combining a biologically informed food-web model with information on anthropogenic influences in 701 sites across the Caribbean region, we show that fishing effort, human density and thermal stress anomaly are associated with a decrease in local food-web persistence. The conservation status of the site, in turn, is associated with an increase in food-web persistence. Some of these associations are explained through effects on food-web structure and total community biomass. Our results unveil a hidden footprint of human activities. Even when food webs may seem healthy in terms of the presence and abundance of their constituent species, they may be losing the capacity to withstand further environmental degradation.

  17. Anthropogenic effects are associated with a lower persistence of marine food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gilarranz, Luis J.; Mora, Camilo; Bascompte, Jordi

    2016-01-01

    Marine coastal ecosystems are among the most exposed to global environmental change, with reported effects on species biomass, species richness and length of trophic chains. By combining a biologically informed food-web model with information on anthropogenic influences in 701 sites across the Caribbean region, we show that fishing effort, human density and thermal stress anomaly are associated with a decrease in local food-web persistence. The conservation status of the site, in turn, is associated with an increase in food-web persistence. Some of these associations are explained through effects on food-web structure and total community biomass. Our results unveil a hidden footprint of human activities. Even when food webs may seem healthy in terms of the presence and abundance of their constituent species, they may be losing the capacity to withstand further environmental degradation. PMID:26867790

  18. Anthropogenic effects are associated with a lower persistence of marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Gilarranz, Luis J; Mora, Camilo; Bascompte, Jordi

    2016-01-01

    Marine coastal ecosystems are among the most exposed to global environmental change, with reported effects on species biomass, species richness and length of trophic chains. By combining a biologically informed food-web model with information on anthropogenic influences in 701 sites across the Caribbean region, we show that fishing effort, human density and thermal stress anomaly are associated with a decrease in local food-web persistence. The conservation status of the site, in turn, is associated with an increase in food-web persistence. Some of these associations are explained through effects on food-web structure and total community biomass. Our results unveil a hidden footprint of human activities. Even when food webs may seem healthy in terms of the presence and abundance of their constituent species, they may be losing the capacity to withstand further environmental degradation. PMID:26867790

  19. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs.

    PubMed

    Naiman, Robert J; Alldredge, J Richard; Beauchamp, David A; Bisson, Peter A; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles J; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Merrill, Erik N; Pearcy, William G; Rieman, Bruce E; Ruggerone, Gregory T; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter E; Wood, Chris C

    2012-12-26

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure--without explicitly considering food webs--has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on ecologically effective restoration. We identify three priority food web-related issues that potentially impede successful river restoration: uncertainty about habitat carrying capacity, proliferation of chemicals and contaminants, and emergence of hybrid food webs containing a mixture of native and invasive species. Additionally, there is the need to place these food web considerations in a broad temporal and spatial framework by understanding the consequences of altered nutrient, organic matter (energy), water, and thermal sources and flows, reconnecting critical habitats and their food webs, and restoring for changing environments. As an illustration, we discuss how the Columbia River Basin, site of one of the largest aquatic/riparian restoration programs in the United States, would benefit from implementing a food web perspective. A food web perspective for the Columbia River would complement ongoing approaches and enhance the ability to meet the vision and legal obligations of the US Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act (Fish and Wildlife Program), and federal treaties with Northwest Indian Tribes while meeting fundamental needs for improved river management. PMID:23197837

  20. Rescaling the trophic structure of marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Hussey, Nigel E; Macneil, M Aaron; McMeans, Bailey C; Olin, Jill A; Dudley, Sheldon F J; Cliff, Geremy; Wintner, Sabine P; Fennessy, Sean T; Fisk, Aaron T

    2014-02-01

    Measures of trophic position (TP) are critical for understanding food web interactions and human-mediated ecosystem disturbance. Nitrogen stable isotopes (δ(15) N) provide a powerful tool to estimate TP but are limited by a pragmatic assumption that isotope discrimination is constant (change in δ(15) N between predator and prey, Δ(15) N = 3.4‰), resulting in an additive framework that omits known Δ(15) N variation. Through meta-analysis, we determine narrowing discrimination from an empirical linear relationship between experimental Δ(15) N and δ(15) N values of prey consumed. The resulting scaled Δ(15) N framework estimated reliable TPs of zooplanktivores to tertiary piscivores congruent with known feeding relationships that radically alters the conventional structure of marine food webs. Apex predator TP estimates were markedly higher than currently assumed by whole-ecosystem models, indicating perceived food webs have been truncated and species-interactions over simplified. The scaled Δ(15) N framework will greatly improve the accuracy of trophic estimates widely used in ecosystem-based management.

  1. Food Web Structure Shapes the Morphology of Teleost Fish Brains.

    PubMed

    Edmunds, Nicholas B; McCann, Kevin S; Laberge, Frédéric

    2016-01-01

    Previous work showed that teleost fish brain size correlates with the flexible exploitation of habitats and predation abilities in an aquatic food web. Since it is unclear how regional brain changes contribute to these relationships, we quantitatively examined the effects of common food web attributes on the size of five brain regions in teleost fish at both within-species (plasticity or natural variation) and between-species (evolution) scales. Our results indicate that brain morphology is influenced by habitat use and trophic position, but not by the degree of littoral-pelagic habitat coupling, despite the fact that the total brain size was previously shown to increase with habitat coupling in Lake Huron. Intriguingly, the results revealed two potential evolutionary trade-offs: (i) relative olfactory bulb size increased, while relative optic tectum size decreased, across a trophic position gradient, and (ii) the telencephalon was relatively larger in fish using more littoral-based carbon, while the cerebellum was relatively larger in fish using more pelagic-based carbon. Additionally, evidence for a within-species effect on the telencephalon was found, where it increased in size with trophic position. Collectively, these results suggest that food web structure has fundamentally contributed to the shaping of teleost brain morphology.

  2. Rescaling the trophic structure of marine food webs

    PubMed Central

    Hussey, Nigel E; MacNeil, M Aaron; McMeans, Bailey C; Olin, Jill A; Dudley, Sheldon FJ; Cliff, Geremy; Wintner, Sabine P; Fennessy, Sean T; Fisk, Aaron T

    2014-01-01

    Measures of trophic position (TP) are critical for understanding food web interactions and human-mediated ecosystem disturbance. Nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15N) provide a powerful tool to estimate TP but are limited by a pragmatic assumption that isotope discrimination is constant (change in δ15N between predator and prey, Δ15N = 3.4‰), resulting in an additive framework that omits known Δ15N variation. Through meta-analysis, we determine narrowing discrimination from an empirical linear relationship between experimental Δ15N and δ15N values of prey consumed. The resulting scaled Δ15N framework estimated reliable TPs of zooplanktivores to tertiary piscivores congruent with known feeding relationships that radically alters the conventional structure of marine food webs. Apex predator TP estimates were markedly higher than currently assumed by whole-ecosystem models, indicating perceived food webs have been truncated and species-interactions over simplified. The scaled Δ15N framework will greatly improve the accuracy of trophic estimates widely used in ecosystem-based management. PMID:24308860

  3. Characteristics of Food Industry Web Sites and "Advergames" Targeting Children

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Culp, Jennifer; Bell, Robert A.; Cassady, Diana

    2010-01-01

    Objective: To assess the content of food industry Web sites targeting children by describing strategies used to prolong their visits and foster brand loyalty; and to document health-promoting messages on these Web sites. Design: A content analysis was conducted of Web sites advertised on 2 children's networks, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. A…

  4. A "Bottom-Up" Approach to Food Web Construction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demetriou, Dorita; Korfiatis, Konstantinos; Constantinou, Constantinos

    2009-01-01

    The ability to comprehend trophic (nutritional) relationships and food web dynamics is an essential part of environmental literacy. However, students face severe difficulties in grasping the variety of causal patterns in food webs. We propose a curriculum for comprehending trophic relations in elementary school. The curriculum allows students to…

  5. Predicting the stability of large structured food webs.

    PubMed

    Allesina, Stefano; Grilli, Jacopo; Barabás, György; Tang, Si; Aljadeff, Johnatan; Maritan, Amos

    2015-01-01

    The stability of ecological systems has been a long-standing focus of ecology. Recently, tools from random matrix theory have identified the main drivers of stability in ecological communities whose network structure is random. However, empirical food webs differ greatly from random graphs. For example, their degree distribution is broader, they contain few trophic cycles, and they are almost interval. Here we derive an approximation for the stability of food webs whose structure is generated by the cascade model, in which 'larger' species consume 'smaller' ones. We predict the stability of these food webs with great accuracy, and our approximation also works well for food webs whose structure is determined empirically or by the niche model. We find that intervality and broad degree distributions tend to stabilize food webs, and that average interaction strength has little influence on stability, compared with the effect of variance and correlation. PMID:26198207

  6. Predicting the stability of large structured food webs

    PubMed Central

    Allesina, Stefano; Grilli, Jacopo; Barabás, György; Tang, Si; Aljadeff, Johnatan; Maritan, Amos

    2015-01-01

    The stability of ecological systems has been a long-standing focus of ecology. Recently, tools from random matrix theory have identified the main drivers of stability in ecological communities whose network structure is random. However, empirical food webs differ greatly from random graphs. For example, their degree distribution is broader, they contain few trophic cycles, and they are almost interval. Here we derive an approximation for the stability of food webs whose structure is generated by the cascade model, in which ‘larger' species consume ‘smaller' ones. We predict the stability of these food webs with great accuracy, and our approximation also works well for food webs whose structure is determined empirically or by the niche model. We find that intervality and broad degree distributions tend to stabilize food webs, and that average interaction strength has little influence on stability, compared with the effect of variance and correlation. PMID:26198207

  7. Predicting the stability of large structured food webs.

    PubMed

    Allesina, Stefano; Grilli, Jacopo; Barabás, György; Tang, Si; Aljadeff, Johnatan; Maritan, Amos

    2015-07-22

    The stability of ecological systems has been a long-standing focus of ecology. Recently, tools from random matrix theory have identified the main drivers of stability in ecological communities whose network structure is random. However, empirical food webs differ greatly from random graphs. For example, their degree distribution is broader, they contain few trophic cycles, and they are almost interval. Here we derive an approximation for the stability of food webs whose structure is generated by the cascade model, in which 'larger' species consume 'smaller' ones. We predict the stability of these food webs with great accuracy, and our approximation also works well for food webs whose structure is determined empirically or by the niche model. We find that intervality and broad degree distributions tend to stabilize food webs, and that average interaction strength has little influence on stability, compared with the effect of variance and correlation.

  8. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Naiman, Robert J.; Alldredge, Richard; Beauchamp, David A.; Bisson, Peter A.; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles J.; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Merrill, Erik N.; Pearcy, William G.; Rieman, Bruce E.; Ruggerone, Gregory T.; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter E.; Wood, Chris C.

    2012-01-01

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure—without explicitly considering food webs—has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on ecologically effective restoration. We identify three priority food web-related issues that potentially impede successful river restoration: uncertainty about habitat carrying capacity, proliferation of chemicals and contaminants, and emergence of hybrid food webs containing a mixture of native and invasive species. Additionally, there is the need to place these food web considerations in a broad temporal and spatial framework by understanding the consequences of altered nutrient, organic matter (energy), water, and thermal sources and flows, reconnecting critical habitats and their food webs, and restoring for changing environments. As an illustration, we discuss how the Columbia River Basin, site of one of the largest aquatic/riparian restoration programs in the United States, would benefit from implementing a food web perspective. A food web perspective for the Columbia River would complement ongoing approaches and enhance the ability to meet the vision and legal obligations of the US Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act (Fish and Wildlife Program), and federal treaties with Northwest Indian Tribes while meeting fundamental needs for improved river management.

  9. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs

    PubMed Central

    Naiman, Robert J.; Alldredge, J. Richard; Beauchamp, David A.; Bisson, Peter A.; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles J.; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Merrill, Erik N.; Pearcy, William G.; Rieman, Bruce E.; Ruggerone, Gregory T.; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter E.; Wood, Chris C.

    2012-01-01

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure—without explicitly considering food webs—has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on ecologically effective restoration. We identify three priority food web-related issues that potentially impede successful river restoration: uncertainty about habitat carrying capacity, proliferation of chemicals and contaminants, and emergence of hybrid food webs containing a mixture of native and invasive species. Additionally, there is the need to place these food web considerations in a broad temporal and spatial framework by understanding the consequences of altered nutrient, organic matter (energy), water, and thermal sources and flows, reconnecting critical habitats and their food webs, and restoring for changing environments. As an illustration, we discuss how the Columbia River Basin, site of one of the largest aquatic/riparian restoration programs in the United States, would benefit from implementing a food web perspective. A food web perspective for the Columbia River would complement ongoing approaches and enhance the ability to meet the vision and legal obligations of the US Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act (Fish and Wildlife Program), and federal treaties with Northwest Indian Tribes while meeting fundamental needs for improved river management. PMID:23197837

  10. Effects of spatial scale of sampling on food web structure

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Spencer A; Russell, Roly; Hanson, Dieta; Williams, Richard J; Dunne, Jennifer A

    2015-01-01

    This study asks whether the spatial scale of sampling alters structural properties of food webs and whether any differences are attributable to changes in species richness and connectance with scale. Understanding how different aspects of sampling effort affect ecological network structure is important for both fundamental ecological knowledge and the application of network analysis in conservation and management. Using a highly resolved food web for the marine intertidal ecosystem of the Sanak Archipelago in the Eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska, we assess how commonly studied properties of network structure differ for 281 versions of the food web sampled at five levels of spatial scale representing six orders of magnitude in area spread across the archipelago. Species (S) and link (L) richness both increased by approximately one order of magnitude across the five spatial scales. Links per species (L/S) more than doubled, while connectance (C) decreased by approximately two-thirds. Fourteen commonly studied properties of network structure varied systematically with spatial scale of sampling, some increasing and others decreasing. While ecological network properties varied systematically with sampling extent, analyses using the niche model and a power-law scaling relationship indicate that for many properties, this apparent sensitivity is attributable to the increasing S and decreasing C of webs with increasing spatial scale. As long as effects of S and C are accounted for, areal sampling bias does not have a special impact on our understanding of many aspects of network structure. However, attention does need be paid to some properties such as the fraction of species in loops, which increases more than expected with greater spatial scales of sampling. PMID:26380704

  11. Food Web Structure in a Harsh Glacier-Fed River

    PubMed Central

    Clitherow, Leonie R.; Carrivick, Jonathan L.; Brown, Lee E.

    2013-01-01

    Glacier retreat is occurring across the world, and associated river ecosystems are expected to respond more rapidly than those in flowing waters in other regions. The river environment directly downstream of a glacier snout is characterised by extreme low water temperature and unstable channel sediments but these habitats may become rarer with widespread glacier retreat. In these extreme environments food web dynamics have been little studied, yet they could offer opportunities to test food web theories using highly resolved food webs owing to their low taxonomic richness. This study examined the interactions of macroinvertebrate and diatom taxa in the Ödenwinkelkees river, Austrian central Alps between 2006 and 2011. The webs were characterised by low taxon richness (13–22), highly connected individuals (directed connectance up to 0.19) and short mean food chain length (2.00–2.36). The dominant macroinvertebrates were members of the Chironomidae genus Diamesa and had an omnivorous diet rich in detritus and diatoms as well as other Chironomidae. Simuliidae (typically detritivorous filterers) had a diet rich in diatoms but also showed evidence of predation on Chironomidae larvae. Food webs showed strong species-averaged and individual size structuring but mass-abundance scaling coefficients were larger than those predicted by metabolic theory, perhaps due to a combination of spatial averaging effects of patchily distributed consumers and resources, and/or consumers deriving unquantified resources from microorganisms attached to the large amounts of ingested rock fragments. Comparison of food web structural metrics with those from 62 published river webs suggest these glacier-fed river food web properties were extreme but in line with general food web scaling predictions, a finding which could prove useful to forecast the effects of anticipated future glacier retreat on the structure of aquatic food webs. PMID:23613751

  12. Food security under climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hertel, Thomas W.

    2016-01-01

    Using food prices to assess climate change impacts on food security is misleading. Differential impacts on income require a broader measure of household well-being, such as changes in absolute poverty.

  13. Food marketing on popular children's web sites: a content analysis.

    PubMed

    Alvy, Lisa M; Calvert, Sandra L

    2008-04-01

    In 2006 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that food marketing was a contributor to childhood obesity in the United States. One recommendation of the IOM committee was for research on newer marketing venues, such as Internet Web sites. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to answer the IOM's call by examining food marketing on popular children's Web sites. Ten Web sites were selected based on market research conducted by KidSay, which identified favorite sites of children aged 8 to 11 years during February 2005. Using a standardized coding form, these sites were examined page by page for the existence, type, and features of food marketing. Web sites were compared using chi2 analyses. Although food marketing was not pervasive on the majority of the sites, seven of the 10 Web sites contained food marketing. The products marketed were primarily candy, cereal, quick serve restaurants, and snacks. Candystand.com, a food product site, contained a significantly greater amount of food marketing than the other popular children's Web sites. Because the foods marketed to children are not consistent with a healthful diet, nutrition professionals should consider joining advocacy groups to pressure industry to reduce online food marketing directed at youth.

  14. Lateral cascade of indirect effects in food webs with different types of adaptive behavior.

    PubMed

    Kamran-Disfani, Ahmad R; Golubski, Antonio J

    2013-12-21

    It is widely recognized that indirect effects due to adaptive behaviors can have important effects on food webs. One consequence may be to change how readily perturbations propagate through the web, because species' behaviors as well as densities may respond to perturbations. It is not well understood which types of behavior are more likely to facilitate versus inhibit propagation of disturbances through a food web, or how this might be affected by the shape of a food web or the patterns of interaction strengths within it. We model two simple, laterally expanded food webs (one with three trophic levels and one with four), and compare how various adaptive behaviors affect the potential for a newly introduced predator to change the equilibrium densities of distant species. Patterns of changes in response to the introduction were qualitatively similar across most models, as were the ways in which patterns of direct interaction strengths affected those responses. Depending on both the web structure and the specific adaptive behavior, the potential for density changes to propagate through the web could be either increased or diminished relative to the no-behavior model. Two behaviors allowed density changes to propagate through a four-level web that precluded such propagation in the no-behavior model, and each of these two behaviors led to qualitatively different patterns of density changes. In the one model (diet choice) in which density changes were able to propagate in both web structures, patterns of density changes differed qualitatively between webs. Some of our results flowed from the fact that behaviors did not interact directly in the systems we considered, so that indirect effects on distant species had to be at least partly density-mediated. Our models highlight this as an inherent limitation of considering in isolation behaviors that are strictly foraging-related or strictly defense-related, making a case for the value of simultaneously considering multiple

  15. The effects of food web structure on ecosystem function exceeds those of precipitation.

    PubMed

    Trzcinski, M Kurtis; Srivastava, Diane S; Corbara, Bruno; Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Carrias, Jean-François; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2016-09-01

    Ecosystems are being stressed by climate change, but few studies have tested food web responses to changes in precipitation patterns and the consequences to ecosystem function. Fewer still have considered whether results from one geographic region can be applied to other regions, given the degree of community change over large biogeographic gradients. We assembled, in one field site, three types of macroinvertebrate communities within water-filled bromeliads. Two represented food webs containing both a fast filter feeder-microbial and slow detritivore energy channels found in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, and one represented the structurally simpler food webs in French Guiana, which only contained the fast filter feeder-microbial channel. We manipulated the amount and distribution of rain entering bromeliads and examined how food web structure mediated ecosystem responses to changes in the quantity and temporal distribution of precipitation. Food web structure affected the survival of functional groups in general and ecosystem functions such as decomposition and the production of fine particulate organic matter. Ecosystem processes were more affected by decreased precipitation than were the abundance of micro-organisms and metazoans. In our experiments, the sensitivity of the ecosystem to precipitation change was primarily revealed in the food web dominated by the single filter feeder-microbial channel because other top-down and bottom-up processes were weak or absent. Our results show stronger effects of food web structure than precipitation change per se on the functioning of bromeliad ecosystems. Consequently, we predict that ecosystem function in bromeliads throughout the Americas will be more sensitive to changes in the distribution of species, rather than to the direct effects caused by changes in precipitation. PMID:27120013

  16. The effects of food web structure on ecosystem function exceeds those of precipitation.

    PubMed

    Trzcinski, M Kurtis; Srivastava, Diane S; Corbara, Bruno; Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Carrias, Jean-François; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2016-09-01

    Ecosystems are being stressed by climate change, but few studies have tested food web responses to changes in precipitation patterns and the consequences to ecosystem function. Fewer still have considered whether results from one geographic region can be applied to other regions, given the degree of community change over large biogeographic gradients. We assembled, in one field site, three types of macroinvertebrate communities within water-filled bromeliads. Two represented food webs containing both a fast filter feeder-microbial and slow detritivore energy channels found in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, and one represented the structurally simpler food webs in French Guiana, which only contained the fast filter feeder-microbial channel. We manipulated the amount and distribution of rain entering bromeliads and examined how food web structure mediated ecosystem responses to changes in the quantity and temporal distribution of precipitation. Food web structure affected the survival of functional groups in general and ecosystem functions such as decomposition and the production of fine particulate organic matter. Ecosystem processes were more affected by decreased precipitation than were the abundance of micro-organisms and metazoans. In our experiments, the sensitivity of the ecosystem to precipitation change was primarily revealed in the food web dominated by the single filter feeder-microbial channel because other top-down and bottom-up processes were weak or absent. Our results show stronger effects of food web structure than precipitation change per se on the functioning of bromeliad ecosystems. Consequently, we predict that ecosystem function in bromeliads throughout the Americas will be more sensitive to changes in the distribution of species, rather than to the direct effects caused by changes in precipitation.

  17. The ecological potentials of Phytomyxea ("plasmodiophorids") in aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Neuhauser, Sigrid; Kirchmair, Martin; Gleason, Frank H

    2011-01-01

    The Phytomyxea ("plasmodiophorids") including both Plasmodiophorida and Phagomyxida is a monophyletic group of Eukaryotes composed of obligate biotrophic parasites of green plants, brown algae, diatoms and stramenopiles commonly found in many freshwater, soil and marine environments. However, most research on Phytomyxea has been restricted to plant pathogenic species with agricultural importance, thereby missing the huge ecological potential of this enigmatic group of parasites. Members of the Phytomyxea can induce changes in biomass in their hosts (e.g. hypertrophies of the host tissue) under suitable environmental conditions. Upon infection they alter the metabolism of their hosts, consequently changing the metabolic status of their host. This results in an altered chemical composition of the host tissue, which impacts the diversity of species which feed on the tissues of the infected host and on the zoospores produced by the parasites. Furthermore, significant amounts of nutrients derived from the hosts, both primary producers (plants and algae) and primary consumers (litter decomposers and plant parasites [Oomycetes]), can enter the food web at different trophic levels in form of zoospores and resting spores. Large numbers of zoospores and resting spores are produced which can be eaten by secondary and tertiary consumers, such as grazing zooplankton and metazoan filter-feeders. Therefore, these microbes can act as energy-rich nutrient resources which may significantly alter the trophic relationships in fresh water, soil and marine habitats. Based on the presented data, Phytomyxea can significantly contribute to the complexity and energy transfer within food webs.

  18. Dynamics of the Lake Michigan food web, 1970-2000

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Madenjian, Charles P.; Fahnenstiel, Gary L.; Johengen, Thomas H.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Vanderploeg, Henry A.; Fleischer, Guy W.; Schneeberger, Philip J.; Benjamin, Darren M.; Smith, Emily B.; Bence, James R.; Rutherford, Edward S.; Lavis, Dennis S.; Robertson, Dale M.; Jude, David J.; Ebener, Mark P.

    2002-01-01

    Herein, we document changes in the Lake Michigan food web between 1970 and 2000 and identify the factors responsible for these changes. Control of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) populations in Lake Michigan, beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, had profound effects on the food web. Recoveries of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) and burbot (Lota lota) populations, as well as the buildup of salmonine populations, were attributable, at least in part, to sea lamprey control. Based on our analyses, predation by salmonines was primarily responsible for the reduction in alewife abundance during the 1970s and early 1980s. In turn, the decrease in alewife abundance likely contributed to recoveries of deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsoni), yellow perch (Perca flavescens), and burbot populations during the 1970s and 1980s. Decrease in the abundance of all three dominant benthic macroinvertebrate groups, including Diporeia, oligochaetes, and sphaeriids, during the 1980s in nearshore waters (50 m deep) of Lake Michigan, was attributable to a decrease in primary production linked to a decline in phosphorus loadings. Continued decrease in Diporeia abundance during the 1990s was associated with the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) invasion, but specific mechanisms for zebra mussels affecting Diporeia abundance remain unidentified.

  19. Food-web constraints on biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships

    PubMed Central

    Thébault, Elisa; Loreau, Michel

    2003-01-01

    The consequences of biodiversity loss for ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services have aroused considerable interest during the past decade. Recent work has focused mainly on the impact of species diversity within single trophic levels, both experimentally and theoretically. Experiments have usually showed increased plant biomass and productivity with increasing plant diversity. Changes in biodiversity, however, may affect ecosystem processes through trophic interactions among species as well. An important current challenge is to understand how these trophic interactions affect the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Here we present a mechanistic model of an ecosystem with multiple trophic levels in which plants compete for a limiting soil nutrient. In contrast to previous studies that focused on single trophic levels, we show that plant biomass does not always increase with plant diversity and that changes in biodiversity can lead to complex if predictable changes in ecosystem processes. Our analysis demonstrates that food-web structure can profoundly influence ecosystem properties. PMID:14638942

  20. Climate change and food security.

    PubMed

    Gregory, P J; Ingram, J S I; Brklacich, M

    2005-11-29

    Dynamic interactions between and within the biogeophysical and human environments lead to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, resulting in food systems that underpin food security. Food systems encompass food availability (production, distribution and exchange), food access (affordability, allocation and preference) and food utilization (nutritional and societal values and safety), so that food security is, therefore, diminished when food systems are stressed. Such stresses may be induced by a range of factors in addition to climate change and/or other agents of environmental change (e.g. conflict, HIV/AIDS) and may be particularly severe when these factors act in combination. Urbanization and globalization are causing rapid changes to food systems. Climate change may affect food systems in several ways ranging from direct effects on crop production (e.g. changes in rainfall leading to drought or flooding, or warmer or cooler temperatures leading to changes in the length of growing season), to changes in markets, food prices and supply chain infrastructure. The relative importance of climate change for food security differs between regions. For example, in southern Africa, climate is among the most frequently cited drivers of food insecurity because it acts both as an underlying, ongoing issue and as a short-lived shock. The low ability to cope with shocks and to mitigate long-term stresses means that coping strategies that might be available in other regions are unavailable or inappropriate. In other regions, though, such as parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain of India, other drivers, such as labour issues and the availability and quality of ground water for irrigation, rank higher than the direct effects of climate change as factors influencing food security. Because of the multiple socio-economic and bio-physical factors affecting food systems and hence food security, the capacity to adapt food systems to reduce their

  1. Using food-web theory to conserve ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    McDonald-Madden, E.; Sabbadin, R.; Game, E. T.; Baxter, P. W. J.; Chadès, I.; Possingham, H. P.

    2016-01-01

    Food-web theory can be a powerful guide to the management of complex ecosystems. However, we show that indices of species importance common in food-web and network theory can be a poor guide to ecosystem management, resulting in significantly more extinctions than necessary. We use Bayesian Networks and Constrained Combinatorial Optimization to find optimal management strategies for a wide range of real and hypothetical food webs. This Artificial Intelligence approach provides the ability to test the performance of any index for prioritizing species management in a network. While no single network theory index provides an appropriate guide to management for all food webs, a modified version of the Google PageRank algorithm reliably minimizes the chance and severity of negative outcomes. Our analysis shows that by prioritizing ecosystem management based on the network-wide impact of species protection rather than species loss, we can substantially improve conservation outcomes. PMID:26776253

  2. Tracking contaminant flux from aquatic to terrestrial food webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Aquatic insects provide a critical energy subsidy to riparian food webs, yet their role as vectors of contaminants to terrestrial ecosystems is poorly understood. We investigated aquatic resource utilization and contaminant exposure among riparian invertivores (spiders and herpt...

  3. Regime shifts in marine communities: a complex systems perspective on food web dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Yletyinen, Johanna; Bodin, Örjan; Weigel, Benjamin; Nordström, Marie C.; Bonsdorff, Erik; Blenckner, Thorsten

    2016-01-01

    Species composition and habitats are changing at unprecedented rates in the world's oceans, potentially causing entire food webs to shift to structurally and functionally different regimes. Despite the severity of these regime shifts, elucidating the precise nature of their underlying processes has remained difficult. We address this challenge with a new analytic approach to detect and assess the relative strength of different driving processes in food webs. Our study draws on complexity theory, and integrates the network-centric exponential random graph modelling (ERGM) framework developed within the social sciences with community ecology. In contrast to previous research, this approach makes clear assumptions of direction of causality and accommodates a dynamic perspective on the emergence of food webs. We apply our approach to analysing food webs of the Baltic Sea before and after a previously reported regime shift. Our results show that the dominant food web processes have remained largely the same, although we detect changes in their magnitudes. The results indicate that the reported regime shift may not be a system-wide shift, but instead involve a limited number of species. Our study emphasizes the importance of community-wide analysis on marine regime shifts and introduces a novel approach to examine food webs. PMID:26888032

  4. The inverse niche model for food webs with parasites

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Warren, Christopher P.; Pascual, Mercedes; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand M.

    2010-01-01

    Although parasites represent an important component of ecosystems, few field and theoretical studies have addressed the structure of parasites in food webs. We evaluate the structure of parasitic links in an extensive salt marsh food web, with a new model distinguishing parasitic links from non-parasitic links among free-living species. The proposed model is an extension of the niche model for food web structure, motivated by the potential role of size (and related metabolic rates) in structuring food webs. The proposed extension captures several properties observed in the data, including patterns of clustering and nestedness, better than does a random model. By relaxing specific assumptions, we demonstrate that two essential elements of the proposed model are the similarity of a parasite's hosts and the increasing degree of parasite specialization, along a one-dimensional niche axis. Thus, inverting one of the basic rules of the original model, the one determining consumers' generality appears critical. Our results support the role of size as one of the organizing principles underlying niche space and food web topology. They also strengthen the evidence for the non-random structure of parasitic links in food webs and open the door to addressing questions concerning the consequences and origins of this structure.

  5. Food Web Assembly Rules for Generalized Lotka-Volterra Equations.

    PubMed

    Haerter, Jan O; Mitarai, Namiko; Sneppen, Kim

    2016-02-01

    In food webs, many interacting species coexist despite the restrictions imposed by the competitive exclusion principle and apparent competition. For the generalized Lotka-Volterra equations, sustainable coexistence necessitates nonzero determinant of the interaction matrix. Here we show that this requirement is equivalent to demanding that each species be part of a non-overlapping pairing, which substantially constrains the food web structure. We demonstrate that a stable food web can always be obtained if a non-overlapping pairing exists. If it does not, the matrix rank can be used to quantify the lack of niches, corresponding to unpaired species. For the species richness at each trophic level, we derive the food web assembly rules, which specify sustainable combinations. In neighboring levels, these rules allow the higher level to avert competitive exclusion at the lower, thereby incorporating apparent competition. In agreement with data, the assembly rules predict high species numbers at intermediate levels and thinning at the top and bottom. Using comprehensive food web data, we demonstrate how omnivores or parasites with hosts at multiple trophic levels can loosen the constraints and help obtain coexistence in food webs. Hence, omnivory may be the glue that keeps communities intact even under extinction or ecological release of species.

  6. Phylogeny versus body size as determinants of food web structure

    PubMed Central

    Naisbit, Russell E.; Rohr, Rudolf P.; Rossberg, Axel G.; Kehrli, Patrik; Bersier, Louis-Félix

    2012-01-01

    Food webs are the complex networks of trophic interactions that stoke the metabolic fires of life. To understand what structures these interactions in natural communities, ecologists have developed simple models to capture their main architectural features. However, apparently realistic food webs can be generated by models invoking either predator–prey body-size hierarchies or evolutionary constraints as structuring mechanisms. As a result, this approach has not conclusively revealed which factors are the most important. Here we cut to the heart of this debate by directly comparing the influence of phylogeny and body size on food web architecture. Using data from 13 food webs compiled by direct observation, we confirm the importance of both factors. Nevertheless, phylogeny dominates in most networks. Moreover, path analysis reveals that the size-independent direct effect of phylogeny on trophic structure typically outweighs the indirect effect that could be captured by considering body size alone. Furthermore, the phylogenetic signal is asymmetric: closely related species overlap in their set of consumers far more than in their set of resources. This is at odds with several food web models, which take only the view-point of consumers when assigning interactions. The echo of evolutionary history clearly resonates through current food webs, with implications for our theoretical models and conservation priorities. PMID:22628467

  7. Phylogeny versus body size as determinants of food web structure.

    PubMed

    Naisbit, Russell E; Rohr, Rudolf P; Rossberg, Axel G; Kehrli, Patrik; Bersier, Louis-Félix

    2012-08-22

    Food webs are the complex networks of trophic interactions that stoke the metabolic fires of life. To understand what structures these interactions in natural communities, ecologists have developed simple models to capture their main architectural features. However, apparently realistic food webs can be generated by models invoking either predator-prey body-size hierarchies or evolutionary constraints as structuring mechanisms. As a result, this approach has not conclusively revealed which factors are the most important. Here we cut to the heart of this debate by directly comparing the influence of phylogeny and body size on food web architecture. Using data from 13 food webs compiled by direct observation, we confirm the importance of both factors. Nevertheless, phylogeny dominates in most networks. Moreover, path analysis reveals that the size-independent direct effect of phylogeny on trophic structure typically outweighs the indirect effect that could be captured by considering body size alone. Furthermore, the phylogenetic signal is asymmetric: closely related species overlap in their set of consumers far more than in their set of resources. This is at odds with several food web models, which take only the view-point of consumers when assigning interactions. The echo of evolutionary history clearly resonates through current food webs, with implications for our theoretical models and conservation priorities.

  8. Food Web Assembly Rules for Generalized Lotka-Volterra Equations.

    PubMed

    Haerter, Jan O; Mitarai, Namiko; Sneppen, Kim

    2016-02-01

    In food webs, many interacting species coexist despite the restrictions imposed by the competitive exclusion principle and apparent competition. For the generalized Lotka-Volterra equations, sustainable coexistence necessitates nonzero determinant of the interaction matrix. Here we show that this requirement is equivalent to demanding that each species be part of a non-overlapping pairing, which substantially constrains the food web structure. We demonstrate that a stable food web can always be obtained if a non-overlapping pairing exists. If it does not, the matrix rank can be used to quantify the lack of niches, corresponding to unpaired species. For the species richness at each trophic level, we derive the food web assembly rules, which specify sustainable combinations. In neighboring levels, these rules allow the higher level to avert competitive exclusion at the lower, thereby incorporating apparent competition. In agreement with data, the assembly rules predict high species numbers at intermediate levels and thinning at the top and bottom. Using comprehensive food web data, we demonstrate how omnivores or parasites with hosts at multiple trophic levels can loosen the constraints and help obtain coexistence in food webs. Hence, omnivory may be the glue that keeps communities intact even under extinction or ecological release of species. PMID:26828363

  9. Food Web Assembly Rules for Generalized Lotka-Volterra Equations

    PubMed Central

    Haerter, Jan O.; Mitarai, Namiko; Sneppen, Kim

    2016-01-01

    In food webs, many interacting species coexist despite the restrictions imposed by the competitive exclusion principle and apparent competition. For the generalized Lotka-Volterra equations, sustainable coexistence necessitates nonzero determinant of the interaction matrix. Here we show that this requirement is equivalent to demanding that each species be part of a non-overlapping pairing, which substantially constrains the food web structure. We demonstrate that a stable food web can always be obtained if a non-overlapping pairing exists. If it does not, the matrix rank can be used to quantify the lack of niches, corresponding to unpaired species. For the species richness at each trophic level, we derive the food web assembly rules, which specify sustainable combinations. In neighboring levels, these rules allow the higher level to avert competitive exclusion at the lower, thereby incorporating apparent competition. In agreement with data, the assembly rules predict high species numbers at intermediate levels and thinning at the top and bottom. Using comprehensive food web data, we demonstrate how omnivores or parasites with hosts at multiple trophic levels can loosen the constraints and help obtain coexistence in food webs. Hence, omnivory may be the glue that keeps communities intact even under extinction or ecological release of species. PMID:26828363

  10. Defining ecospace of Arctic marine food webs using a novel quantitative approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gale, M.; Loseto, L. L.

    2011-12-01

    The Arctic is currently facing unprecedented change with developmental, physical and climatological changes. Food webs within the marine Arctic environment are highly susceptible to anthropogenic stressors and have thus far been understudied. Stable isotopes, in conjunction with a novel set of metrics, may provide a framework that allows us to understand which areas of the Arctic are most vulnerable to change. The objective of this study was to use linear distance metrics applied to stable isotopes to a) define and quantify four Arctic marine food webs in ecospace; b) enable quantifiable comparisons among the four food webs and with other ecosystems; and, c) evaluate vulnerability of the four food webs to anthropogenic stressors such as climate change. The areas studied were Hudson Bay, Beaufort Sea, Lancaster Sound and North Water Polynya. Each region was selected based on the abundance of previous research and published and available stable isotope data in peer-review literature. We selected species to cover trophic levels ranging from particulate matter to polar bears with consideration of pelagic, benthic and ice-associated energy pathways. We interpret higher diversity in baseline carbon energy as signifying higher stability in food web structure. Based on this, the Beaufort Sea food web had the highest stability; the Beaufort Sea food web occupied the largest isotopic niche space and was supported by multiple carbon sources. Areas with top-down control system, such as Lancaster Sound and North Water Polynya, would be the first to experience an increase in trophic redundancy and possible hardships from external stressors, as they have fewer basal carbon sources and greater numbers of mid-high level consumers. We conclude that a diverse carbon energy based ecosystem such as the Beaufort Sea and Hudson Bay regions are more resilient to change than a top down control system.

  11. Mesoscale symmetries explain dynamical equivalence of food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aufderheide, Helge; Rudolf, Lars; Gross, Thilo

    2012-10-01

    A goal of complex system research is to identify the dynamical implications of network structure. While early results focused mainly on local or global structural properties, there is now growing interest in mesoscale structures that comprise more than one node but not the whole network. A central challenge is to discover under what conditions the occurrence of a specific mesoscale motif already allows conclusions on the dynamics of a network as a whole. In this paper, we investigate the dynamics of ecological food webs, complex heterogeneous networks of interacting populations. Generalizing the results of MacArthur and Sánchez-García (2009 Phys. Rev. E 80 26117), we show that certain mesoscale symmetries imply the existence of localized dynamical modes. If these modes are unstable the occurrence of the corresponding mesoscale motif implies dynamical instability regardless of the structure of the embedding network. In contrast, if the mode is stable it means that the symmetry can be exploited to reduce the number of nodes in the model, without changing the dynamics of the system. This result explains a previously observed dynamical equivalence between food webs containing a different number of species.

  12. Model of carbon cycling in planktonic food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Connolly, J.P.; Coffin, R.B.

    1995-10-01

    A mathematical model of carbon fluxes through the heterotrophic microbial food web is developed from a synthesis of laboratory and field research. The basis of the model is the segregation of organic carbon into lability classes that are defined by bioassay experiments. Bacteria, phytoplankton, three trophic levels of zooplankton, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and particulate organic carbon (POC) are modeled. The descriptions of bacterial growth and utilization of the various classes of substrate were treated as universal constants in the application of the model to three distinct ecosystems, ranging from oligotrophic to highly eutrophic. The successful application of the model to these diverse ecosystems supports the basic validity of the description of the microbial food web and the dynamics of carbon flux. The model indicates that the dynamics of bacteria and protozoan zooplankton production govern the rates of oxidation of carbon entering the water column. Explicit consideration of these groups would improve the capability of eutrophication models to predict dissolved oxygen dynamics, particularly when projecting responses to loading changes.

  13. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in evolving food webs.

    PubMed

    Allhoff, K T; Drossel, B

    2016-05-19

    We use computer simulations in order to study the interplay between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) during both the formation and the ongoing evolution of large food webs. A species in our model is characterized by its own body mass, its preferred prey body mass and the width of its potential prey body mass spectrum. On an ecological time scale, population dynamics determines which species are viable and which ones go extinct. On an evolutionary time scale, new species emerge as modifications of existing ones. The network structure thus emerges and evolves in a self-organized manner. We analyse the relation between functional diversity and five community level measures of ecosystem functioning. These are the metabolic loss of the predator community, the total biomasses of the basal and the predator community, and the consumption rates on the basal community and within the predator community. Clear BEF relations are observed during the initial build-up of the networks, or when parameters are varied, causing bottom-up or top-down effects. However, ecosystem functioning measures fluctuate only very little during long-term evolution under constant environmental conditions, despite changes in functional diversity. This result supports the hypothesis that trophic cascades are weaker in more complex food webs.

  14. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in evolving food webs.

    PubMed

    Allhoff, K T; Drossel, B

    2016-05-19

    We use computer simulations in order to study the interplay between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) during both the formation and the ongoing evolution of large food webs. A species in our model is characterized by its own body mass, its preferred prey body mass and the width of its potential prey body mass spectrum. On an ecological time scale, population dynamics determines which species are viable and which ones go extinct. On an evolutionary time scale, new species emerge as modifications of existing ones. The network structure thus emerges and evolves in a self-organized manner. We analyse the relation between functional diversity and five community level measures of ecosystem functioning. These are the metabolic loss of the predator community, the total biomasses of the basal and the predator community, and the consumption rates on the basal community and within the predator community. Clear BEF relations are observed during the initial build-up of the networks, or when parameters are varied, causing bottom-up or top-down effects. However, ecosystem functioning measures fluctuate only very little during long-term evolution under constant environmental conditions, despite changes in functional diversity. This result supports the hypothesis that trophic cascades are weaker in more complex food webs. PMID:27114582

  15. Predator hunting mode influences patterns of prey use from grazing and epigeic food webs.

    PubMed

    Wimp, Gina M; Murphy, Shannon M; Lewis, Danny; Douglas, Margaret R; Ambikapathi, Ramya; Van-Tull, Lie'Ann; Gratton, Claudio; Denno, Robert F

    2013-02-01

    Multichannel omnivory by generalist predators, especially the use of both grazing and epigeic prey, has the potential to increase predator abundance and decrease herbivore populations. However, predator use of the epigeic web (soil surface detritus/microbe/algae consumers) varies considerably for reasons that are poorly understood. We therefore used a stable isotope approach to determine whether prey availability and predator hunting style (active hunting vs. passive web-building) impacted the degree of multichannel omnivory by the two most abundant predators on an intertidal salt marsh, both spiders. We found that carbon isotopic values of herbivores remained constant during the growing season, while values for epigeic feeders became dramatically more enriched such that values for the two webs converged in August. Carbon isotopic values for both spider species remained midway between the two webs as values for epigeic feeders shifted, indicating substantial use of prey from both food webs by both spider species. As the season progressed, prey abundance in the grazing food web increased while prey abundance in the epigeic web remained constant or declined. In response, prey consumption by the web-building spider shifted toward the grazing web to a much greater extent than did consumption by the hunting spider, possibly because passive web-capture is more responsive to changes in prey availability. Although both generalist predator species engaged in multichannel omnivory, hunting mode influenced the extent to which these predators used prey from the grazing and epigeic food webs, and could thereby influence the strength of trophic cascades in both food webs.

  16. Cascading extinctions and community collapse in model food webs.

    PubMed

    Dunne, Jennifer A; Williams, Richard J

    2009-06-27

    Species loss in ecosystems can lead to secondary extinctions as a result of consumer-resource relationships and other species interactions. We compare levels of secondary extinctions in communities generated by four structural food-web models and a fifth null model in response to sequential primary species removals. We focus on various aspects of food-web structural integrity including robustness, community collapse and threshold periods, and how these features relate to assumptions underlying different models, different species loss sequences and simple measures of diversity and complexity. Hierarchical feeding, a fundamental characteristic of food-web structure, appears to impose a cost in terms of robustness and other aspects of structural integrity. However, exponential-type link distributions, also characteristic of more realistic models, generally confer greater structural robustness than the less skewed link distributions of less realistic models. In most cases for the more realistic models, increased robustness and decreased levels of web collapse are associated with increased diversity, measured as species richness S, and increased complexity, measured as connectance C. These and other results, including a surprising sensitivity of more realistic model food webs to loss of species with few links to other species, are compared with prior work based on empirical food-web data.

  17. Ecological-network models link diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web.

    PubMed

    D'Alelio, Domenico; Libralato, Simone; Wyatt, Timothy; Ribera d'Alcalà, Maurizio

    2016-02-17

    A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named 'green' and 'blue' - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the 'adaptive' responses of plankton communities to perturbations.

  18. Ecological-network models link diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web

    PubMed Central

    D’Alelio, Domenico; Libralato, Simone; Wyatt, Timothy; Ribera d’Alcalà, Maurizio

    2016-01-01

    A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named ‘green’ and ‘blue’ - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the ‘adaptive’ responses of plankton communities to perturbations. PMID:26883643

  19. Towards a framework for assessment and management of cumulative human impacts on marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Giakoumi, Sylvaine; Halpern, Benjamin S; Michel, Loïc N; Gobert, Sylvie; Sini, Maria; Boudouresque, Charles-François; Gambi, Maria-Cristina; Katsanevakis, Stelios; Lejeune, Pierre; Montefalcone, Monica; Pergent, Gerard; Pergent-Martini, Christine; Sanchez-Jerez, Pablo; Velimirov, Branko; Vizzini, Salvatrice; Abadie, Arnaud; Coll, Marta; Guidetti, Paolo; Micheli, Fiorenza; Possingham, Hugh P

    2015-08-01

    Effective ecosystem-based management requires understanding ecosystem responses to multiple human threats, rather than focusing on single threats. To understand ecosystem responses to anthropogenic threats holistically, it is necessary to know how threats affect different components within ecosystems and ultimately alter ecosystem functioning. We used a case study of a Mediterranean seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) food web and expert knowledge elicitation in an application of the initial steps of a framework for assessment of cumulative human impacts on food webs. We produced a conceptual seagrass food web model, determined the main trophic relationships, identified the main threats to the food web components, and assessed the components' vulnerability to those threats. Some threats had high (e.g., coastal infrastructure) or low impacts (e.g., agricultural runoff) on all food web components, whereas others (e.g., introduced carnivores) had very different impacts on each component. Partitioning the ecosystem into its components enabled us to identify threats previously overlooked and to reevaluate the importance of threats commonly perceived as major. By incorporating this understanding of system vulnerability with data on changes in the state of each threat (e.g., decreasing domestic pollution and increasing fishing) into a food web model, managers may be better able to estimate and predict cumulative human impacts on ecosystems and to prioritize conservation actions. PMID:25704365

  20. Ecological-network models link diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web.

    PubMed

    D'Alelio, Domenico; Libralato, Simone; Wyatt, Timothy; Ribera d'Alcalà, Maurizio

    2016-01-01

    A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named 'green' and 'blue' - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the 'adaptive' responses of plankton communities to perturbations. PMID:26883643

  1. Towards a framework for assessment and management of cumulative human impacts on marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Giakoumi, Sylvaine; Halpern, Benjamin S; Michel, Loïc N; Gobert, Sylvie; Sini, Maria; Boudouresque, Charles-François; Gambi, Maria-Cristina; Katsanevakis, Stelios; Lejeune, Pierre; Montefalcone, Monica; Pergent, Gerard; Pergent-Martini, Christine; Sanchez-Jerez, Pablo; Velimirov, Branko; Vizzini, Salvatrice; Abadie, Arnaud; Coll, Marta; Guidetti, Paolo; Micheli, Fiorenza; Possingham, Hugh P

    2015-08-01

    Effective ecosystem-based management requires understanding ecosystem responses to multiple human threats, rather than focusing on single threats. To understand ecosystem responses to anthropogenic threats holistically, it is necessary to know how threats affect different components within ecosystems and ultimately alter ecosystem functioning. We used a case study of a Mediterranean seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) food web and expert knowledge elicitation in an application of the initial steps of a framework for assessment of cumulative human impacts on food webs. We produced a conceptual seagrass food web model, determined the main trophic relationships, identified the main threats to the food web components, and assessed the components' vulnerability to those threats. Some threats had high (e.g., coastal infrastructure) or low impacts (e.g., agricultural runoff) on all food web components, whereas others (e.g., introduced carnivores) had very different impacts on each component. Partitioning the ecosystem into its components enabled us to identify threats previously overlooked and to reevaluate the importance of threats commonly perceived as major. By incorporating this understanding of system vulnerability with data on changes in the state of each threat (e.g., decreasing domestic pollution and increasing fishing) into a food web model, managers may be better able to estimate and predict cumulative human impacts on ecosystems and to prioritize conservation actions.

  2. Parasites alter the topology of a stream food web across seasons.

    PubMed

    Hernandez, Alexander D; Sukhdeo, Michael V K

    2008-06-01

    Relatively few published food webs have included parasites, and in this study we examined the animal community in a stream across eight contiguous seasons to test how inclusion of helminth parasites alters the topology or structure of the food web. Food webs constructed for each season and analyzed using common binary matrix measures show that species richness, linkage density, and the number of observed and possible links increased when parasites were included as individual species nodes. With parasite-parasite and predator-parasite links omitted, measures of community complexity, such as connectance (C), generally increased over multiple seasons. However, relative nestedness (n*) decreased when parasites were included, which may be a result of low resolution of basal resources inflating specialist-to-specialist links. Overall, adding parasites resulted in moderate changes in food web measures when compared to those of four other published food webs representing different ecosystems. In addition, including parasites in the food web revealed consistent pathways of energy flow, and the association of parasite life histories along these pathways suggest stable evolutionary groups of interacting species within the community.

  3. Stable Isotope Tracers of Process in Great Lakes Food Webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Stable isotope analyses of biota are now commonly used to discern trophic pathways between consumers and their foods. However, those same isotope data also hold information about processes that influence the physicochemical setting of food webs as well as biological processes ope...

  4. Hydrological and Biogeochemical Controls on Seasonal and Spatial Differences in Food Webs in the Everglades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kendall, C.; Wankel, S. D.; Bemis, B. E.; Rawlik, P. S.; Krabbenhoft, D. P.; Lange, T.

    2002-05-01

    Stable isotopes can be used to determine the relative trophic positions of biota within a food web, and to improve our understanding of the biomagnification of contaminants. Plants at the base of the food web uptake dissolved organic carbon (DIC) and nitrogen (DIN) for growth, and their tissue reflects the isotopic composition of these sources. Animals then mirror the isotopic composition of the primary producers, as modified by consumer-diet fractionations at successive trophic steps. During 1995-99, we collected algae, macrophyte, invertebrate, and fish samples from 15 USGS sites in the Everglades and analyzed them for d13C and d15N with the goal of characterizing seasonal and spatial differences in food web relations. Carbon isotopes effectively distinguish between two main types of food webs: ones where algae is the dominant base of the food web, which are characteristic of relatively pristine marsh sites with long hydroperiods, and ones where macrophyte debris appears to be a significant source of nutrients, which are apparently characteristic of shorter hydroperiod sites, and nutrient-impacted marshes and canals. There usually is an inverse relation between d13C and d15N of organisms over time, especially in more pristine environments, reflecting seasonal changes in the d13C of DIC and the d15N of DIN. The d13C and d15N of algae also show strong positive correlations with seasonal changes in water levels. This variability is substantially damped up the food chain, probably because of the longer integration times of animals vs. plants. We speculate that these seasonal shifts in water level result in changes in biogeochemical reactions and nutrient levels, with corresponding variations in the d15N and d13C of biota. For example, small changes in water level may change the balance of photosynthesis, bacterial respiration, and atmospheric exchange reactions that control the d13C of DIC. Such changes will probably also affect the d15N of dissolved inorganic N (DIN

  5. Impact of nitrogen deposition on forest and lake food webs in nitrogen-limited environments.

    PubMed

    Meunier, Cédric L; Gundale, Michael J; Sánchez, Irene S; Liess, Antonia

    2016-01-01

    Increased reactive nitrogen (Nr ) deposition has raised the amount of N available to organisms and has greatly altered the transfer of energy through food webs, with major consequences for trophic dynamics. The aim of this review was to: (i) clarify the direct and indirect effects of Nr deposition on forest and lake food webs in N-limited biomes, (ii) compare and contrast how aquatic and terrestrial systems respond to increased Nr deposition, and (iii) identify how the nutrient pathways within and between ecosystems change in response to Nr deposition. We present that Nr deposition releases primary producers from N limitation in both forest and lake ecosystems and raises plants' N content which in turn benefits herbivores with high N requirements. Such trophic effects are coupled with a general decrease in biodiversity caused by different N-use efficiencies; slow-growing species with low rates of N turnover are replaced by fast-growing species with high rates of N turnover. In contrast, Nr deposition diminishes below-ground production in forests, due to a range of mechanisms that reduce microbial biomass, and decreases lake benthic productivity by switching herbivore growth from N to phosphorus (P) limitation, and by intensifying P limitation of benthic fish. The flow of nutrients between ecosystems is expected to change with increasing Nr deposition. Due to higher litter production and more intense precipitation, more terrestrial matter will enter lakes. This will benefit bacteria and will in turn boost the microbial food web. Additionally, Nr deposition promotes emergent insects, which subsidize the terrestrial food web as prey for insectivores or by dying and decomposing on land. So far, most studies have examined Nr -deposition effects on the food web base, whereas our review highlights that changes at the base of food webs substantially impact higher trophic levels and therefore food web structure and functioning.

  6. Towards a mechanistic understanding of temperature and enrichment effects on species interaction strength, omnivory and food-web structure.

    PubMed

    Sentis, Arnaud; Hemptinne, Jean-Louis; Brodeur, Jacques

    2014-07-01

    Revealing the links between species functional traits, interaction strength and food-web structure is of paramount importance for understanding and predicting the relationships between food-web diversity and stability in a rapidly changing world. However, little is known about the interactive effects of environmental perturbations on individual species, trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning. Here, we combined modelling and laboratory experiments to investigate the effects of warming and enrichment on a terrestrial tritrophic system. We found that the food-web structure is highly variable and switches between exploitative competition and omnivory depending on the effects of temperature and enrichment on foraging behaviour and species interaction strength. Our model contributes to identifying the mechanisms that explain how environmental effects cascade through the food web and influence its topology. We conclude that considering environmental factors and flexible food-web structure is crucial to improve our ability to predict the impacts of global changes on ecosystem diversity and stability.

  7. Weighting and indirect effects identify keystone species in food webs.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Lei; Zhang, Huayong; O'Gorman, Eoin J; Tian, Wang; Ma, Athen; Moore, John C; Borrett, Stuart R; Woodward, Guy

    2016-09-01

    Species extinctions are accelerating globally, yet the mechanisms that maintain local biodiversity remain poorly understood. The extinction of species that feed on or are fed on by many others (i.e. 'hubs') has traditionally been thought to cause the greatest threat of further biodiversity loss. Very little attention has been paid to the strength of those feeding links (i.e. link weight) and the prevalence of indirect interactions. Here, we used a dynamical model based on empirical energy budget data to assess changes in ecosystem stability after simulating the loss of species according to various extinction scenarios. Link weight and/or indirect effects had stronger effects on food-web stability than the simple removal of 'hubs', demonstrating that both quantitative fluxes and species dissipating their effects across many links should be of great concern in biodiversity conservation, and the potential for 'hubs' to act as keystone species may have been exaggerated to date. PMID:27346328

  8. Weighting and indirect effects identify keystone species in food webs.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Lei; Zhang, Huayong; O'Gorman, Eoin J; Tian, Wang; Ma, Athen; Moore, John C; Borrett, Stuart R; Woodward, Guy

    2016-09-01

    Species extinctions are accelerating globally, yet the mechanisms that maintain local biodiversity remain poorly understood. The extinction of species that feed on or are fed on by many others (i.e. 'hubs') has traditionally been thought to cause the greatest threat of further biodiversity loss. Very little attention has been paid to the strength of those feeding links (i.e. link weight) and the prevalence of indirect interactions. Here, we used a dynamical model based on empirical energy budget data to assess changes in ecosystem stability after simulating the loss of species according to various extinction scenarios. Link weight and/or indirect effects had stronger effects on food-web stability than the simple removal of 'hubs', demonstrating that both quantitative fluxes and species dissipating their effects across many links should be of great concern in biodiversity conservation, and the potential for 'hubs' to act as keystone species may have been exaggerated to date.

  9. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Food Web Structure in Different Environmental Settings.

    PubMed

    Thormar, Jonas; Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Baden, Susanne; Boström, Christoffer; Clausen, Kevin Kuhlmann; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Olesen, Birgit; Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Svensson, Carl Johan; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-01-01

    This study compares the structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows and associated food webs in two eelgrass habitats in Denmark, differing in exposure, connection to the open sea, nutrient enrichment and water transparency. Meadow structure strongly reflected the environmental conditions in each habitat. The eutrophicated, protected site had higher biomass of filamentous algae, lower eelgrass biomass and shoot density, longer and narrower leaves, and higher above to below ground biomass ratio compared to the less nutrient-enriched and more exposed site. The faunal community composition and food web structure also differed markedly between sites with the eutrophicated, enclosed site having higher biomass of consumers and less complex food web. These relationships resulted in a column shaped biomass distribution of the consumers at the eutrophicated site whereas the less nutrient-rich site showed a pyramidal biomass distribution of consumers coupled with a more diverse consumer community. The differences in meadow and food web structure of the two seagrass habitats, suggest how physical setting may shape ecosystem response and resilience to anthropogenic pressure. We encourage larger, replicated studies to further disentangle the effects of different environmental variables on seagrass food web structure. PMID:26752412

  10. When do evolutionary food web models generate complex networks?

    PubMed

    Allhoff, Korinna T; Drossel, Barbara

    2013-10-01

    Evolutionary foodweb models are used to build food webs by the repeated addition of new species. Population dynamics leads to the extinction or establishment of a newly added species, and possibly to the extinction of other species. The food web structure that emerges after some time is a highly nontrivial result of the evolutionary and dynamical rules. We investigate the evolutionary food web model introduced by Loeuille and Loreau (2005), which characterizes species by their body mass as the only evolving trait. Our goal is to find the reasons behind the model's remarkable robustness and its capability to generate various and stable networks. In contrast to other evolutionary food web models, this model requires neither adaptive foraging nor allometric scaling of metabolic rates with body mass in order to produce complex networks that do not eventually collapse to trivial structures. Our study shows that this is essentially due to the fact that the difference in niche value between predator and prey as well as the feeding range are constrained so that they remain within narrow limits under evolution. Furthermore, competition between similar species is sufficiently strong, so that a trophic level can accommodate several species. We discuss the implications of these findings and argue that the conditions that stabilize other evolutionary food web models have similar effects because they also prevent the occurrence of extreme specialists or extreme generalists that have in general a higher fitness than species with a moderate niche width.

  11. Relevance of evolutionary history for food web structure.

    PubMed

    Eklöf, Anna; Helmus, Matthew R; Moore, M; Allesina, Stefano

    2012-04-22

    Explaining the structure of ecosystems is one of the great challenges of ecology. Simple models for food web structure aim at disentangling the complexity of ecological interaction networks and detect the main forces that are responsible for their shape. Trophic interactions are influenced by species traits, which in turn are largely determined by evolutionary history. Closely related species are more likely to share similar traits, such as body size, feeding mode and habitat preference than distant ones. Here, we present a theoretical framework for analysing whether evolutionary history--represented by taxonomic classification--provides valuable information on food web structure. In doing so, we measure which taxonomic ranks better explain species interactions. Our analysis is based on partitioning of the species into taxonomic units. For each partition, we compute the likelihood that a probabilistic model for food web structure reproduces the data using this information. We find that taxonomic partitions produce significantly higher likelihoods than expected at random. Marginal likelihoods (Bayes factors) are used to perform model selection among taxonomic ranks. We show that food webs are best explained by the coarser taxonomic ranks (kingdom to class). Our methods provide a way to explicitly include evolutionary history in models for food web structure.

  12. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Food Web Structure in Different Environmental Settings.

    PubMed

    Thormar, Jonas; Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Baden, Susanne; Boström, Christoffer; Clausen, Kevin Kuhlmann; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Olesen, Birgit; Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Svensson, Carl Johan; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-01-01

    This study compares the structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows and associated food webs in two eelgrass habitats in Denmark, differing in exposure, connection to the open sea, nutrient enrichment and water transparency. Meadow structure strongly reflected the environmental conditions in each habitat. The eutrophicated, protected site had higher biomass of filamentous algae, lower eelgrass biomass and shoot density, longer and narrower leaves, and higher above to below ground biomass ratio compared to the less nutrient-enriched and more exposed site. The faunal community composition and food web structure also differed markedly between sites with the eutrophicated, enclosed site having higher biomass of consumers and less complex food web. These relationships resulted in a column shaped biomass distribution of the consumers at the eutrophicated site whereas the less nutrient-rich site showed a pyramidal biomass distribution of consumers coupled with a more diverse consumer community. The differences in meadow and food web structure of the two seagrass habitats, suggest how physical setting may shape ecosystem response and resilience to anthropogenic pressure. We encourage larger, replicated studies to further disentangle the effects of different environmental variables on seagrass food web structure.

  13. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Food Web Structure in Different Environmental Settings

    PubMed Central

    Thormar, Jonas; Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Baden, Susanne; Boström, Christoffer; Clausen, Kevin Kuhlmann; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Olesen, Birgit; Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Svensson, Carl Johan; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-01-01

    This study compares the structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows and associated food webs in two eelgrass habitats in Denmark, differing in exposure, connection to the open sea, nutrient enrichment and water transparency. Meadow structure strongly reflected the environmental conditions in each habitat. The eutrophicated, protected site had higher biomass of filamentous algae, lower eelgrass biomass and shoot density, longer and narrower leaves, and higher above to below ground biomass ratio compared to the less nutrient-enriched and more exposed site. The faunal community composition and food web structure also differed markedly between sites with the eutrophicated, enclosed site having higher biomass of consumers and less complex food web. These relationships resulted in a column shaped biomass distribution of the consumers at the eutrophicated site whereas the less nutrient-rich site showed a pyramidal biomass distribution of consumers coupled with a more diverse consumer community. The differences in meadow and food web structure of the two seagrass habitats, suggest how physical setting may shape ecosystem response and resilience to anthropogenic pressure. We encourage larger, replicated studies to further disentangle the effects of different environmental variables on seagrass food web structure. PMID:26752412

  14. Parasites affect food web structure primarily through increased diversity and complexity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dunne, Jennifer A.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Kuris, Armand M.; Martinez, Neo D.; McLaughlin, John P.; Mouritsen, Kim N.; Poulin, Robert; Reise, Karsten; Stouffer, Daniel B.; Thieltges, David W.; Williams, Richard J.; Zander, Claus Dieter

    2013-01-01

    Comparative research on food web structure has revealed generalities in trophic organization, produced simple models, and allowed assessment of robustness to species loss. These studies have mostly focused on free-living species. Recent research has suggested that inclusion of parasites alters structure. We assess whether such changes in network structure result from unique roles and traits of parasites or from changes to diversity and complexity. We analyzed seven highly resolved food webs that include metazoan parasite data. Our analyses show that adding parasites usually increases link density and connectance (simple measures of complexity), particularly when including concomitant links (links from predators to parasites of their prey). However, we clarify prior claims that parasites ‘‘dominate’’ food web links. Although parasites can be involved in a majority of links, in most cases classic predation links outnumber classic parasitism links. Regarding network structure, observed changes in degree distributions, 14 commonly studied metrics, and link probabilities are consistent with scale-dependent changes in structure associated with changes in diversity and complexity. Parasite and free-living species thus have similar effects on these aspects of structure. However, two changes point to unique roles of parasites. First, adding parasites and concomitant links strongly alters the frequency of most motifs of interactions among three taxa, reflecting parasites’ roles as resources for predators of their hosts, driven by trophic intimacy with their hosts. Second, compared to free-living consumers, many parasites’ feeding niches appear broader and less contiguous, which may reflect complex life cycles and small body sizes. This study provides new insights about generic versus unique impacts of parasites on food web structure, extends the generality of food web theory, gives a more rigorous framework for assessing the impact of any species on trophic

  15. Emergence of complexity in evolving niche-model food webs.

    PubMed

    Guill, Christian; Drossel, Barbara

    2008-03-01

    We have analysed mechanisms that promote the emergence of complex structures in evolving model food webs. The niche model is used to determine predator-prey relationships. Complexity is measured by species richness as well as trophic level structure and link density. Adaptive dynamics that allow predators to concentrate on the prey species they are best adapted to lead to a strong increase in species number but have only a small effect on the number and relative occupancy of trophic levels. The density of active links also remains small but a high number of potential links allows the network to adjust to changes in the species composition (emergence and extinction of species). Incorporating effects of body size on individual metabolism leads to a more complex trophic level structure: both the maximum and the average trophic level increase. So does the density of active links. Taking body size effects into consideration does not have a measurable influence on species richness. If species are allowed to adjust their foraging behaviour, the complexity of the evolving networks can also be influenced by the size of the external resources. The larger the resources, the larger and more complex is the food web it can sustain. Body size effects and increasing resources do not change size and the simple structure of the evolving networks if adaptive foraging is prohibited. This leads to the conclusion that in the framework of the niche model adaptive foraging is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the emergence of complex networks. It is found that despite the stabilising effect of foraging adaptation the system displays elements of self-organised critical behaviour.

  16. Food web dynamics in a seasonally varying wetland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Trexler, J.C.; Donalson, D.D.

    2008-01-01

    A spatially explicit model is developed to simulate the small fish community and its underlying food web, in the freshwater marshes of the Everglades. The community is simplified to a few small fish species feeding on periphyton and invertebrates. Other compartments are detritus, crayfish, and a piscivorous fish species. This unit food web model is applied to each of the 10,000 spatial cells on a 100 x 100 pixel landscape. Seasonal variation in water level is assumed and rules are assigned for fish movement in response to rising and falling water levels, which can cause many spatial cells to alternate between flooded and dry conditions. It is shown that temporal variations of water level on a spatially heterogeneous landscape can maintain at least three competing fish species. In addition, these environmental factors can strongly affect the temporal variation of the food web caused by top-down control from the piscivorous fish.

  17. Functional group diversity increases with modularity in complex food webs.

    PubMed

    Montoya, D; Yallop, M L; Memmott, J

    2015-01-01

    Biodiversity increases the ability of ecosystems to provide multiple functions. Most studies report a positive relationship between species richness and the number of ecosystem functions. However, it is not known whether the number of functional groups is related to the structure of the underlying species interaction network. Here we present food web data from 115 salt marsh islands and show that network structure is associated with the number of functional groups present. Functional group diversity is heterogeneously distributed across spatial scales, with some islands hosting more functional groups than others. Functional groups form modules within the community so that food webs with more modular architectures have more functional group diversity. Further, in communities with different interaction types, modularity can be seen as the multifunctional equivalent of trophic complementarity. Collectively, these findings reveal spatial heterogeneity in the number of functional groups that emerges from patterns in the structure of the food web.

  18. Food-web formation with recursive evolutionary branching.

    PubMed

    Ito, Hiroshi C; Ikegami, Takashi

    2006-01-01

    A reaction-diffusion model describing the evolutionary dynamics of a food-web was constructed. In this model, predator-prey relationships among organisms were determined by their position in a two-dimensional phenotype space defined by two traits: as prey and as predator. The mutation process is expressed with a diffusion process of biomass in the phenotype space. Numerical simulation of this model showed co-evolutionary dynamics of isolated phenotypic clusters, including various types of evolutionary branching, which were classified into branching as prey, branching as predators, and co-evolutionary branching of both prey and predators. A complex food-web develops with recursive evolutionary branching from a single phenotypic cluster. Biodiversity peaks at the medium strength of the predator-prey interaction, where the food-web is maintained at medium biomass by a balanced frequency between evolutionary branching and extinction.

  19. Functional group diversity increases with modularity in complex food webs

    PubMed Central

    Montoya, D.; Yallop, M.L.; Memmott, J.

    2015-01-01

    Biodiversity increases the ability of ecosystems to provide multiple functions. Most studies report a positive relationship between species richness and the number of ecosystem functions. However, it is not known whether the number of functional groups is related to the structure of the underlying species interaction network. Here we present food web data from 115 salt marsh islands and show that network structure is associated with the number of functional groups present. Functional group diversity is heterogeneously distributed across spatial scales, with some islands hosting more functional groups than others. Functional groups form modules within the community so that food webs with more modular architectures have more functional group diversity. Further, in communities with different interaction types, modularity can be seen as the multifunctional equivalent of trophic complementarity. Collectively, these findings reveal spatial heterogeneity in the number of functional groups that emerges from patterns in the structure of the food web. PMID:26059871

  20. Tracing food webs with stable hydrogen isotopes.

    PubMed

    Estep, M F; Dabrowski, H

    1980-09-26

    The hydrogen isotopic content of an animal's food, not water, determines that animal's hydrogen isotopic content. Liver and muscle tissue from mice reared on a diet such that the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen (DIH) of their food and water was kept constant, have the same average D/H ratio as the food source. In a simple, natural population of snails and their possible algal diets, Littorina obtusata (northern Atlantic intertidal snails that feed almost exclusively on the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus) has the same D/H ratio as Fucus vesiculosis and not that of the other algae available to the snails. PMID:17745967

  1. Egg boons: central components of marine fatty acid food webs.

    PubMed

    Fuiman, Lee A; Connelly, Tara L; Lowerre-Barbieri, Susan K; McClelland, James W

    2015-02-01

    Food web relationships are traditionally defined in terms of the flow of key elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and their role in limiting production. There is growing recognition that availability of important biomolecules, such as fatty acids, may exert controls on secondary production that are not easily explained by traditional element-oriented models. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required by most organisms for proper physiological function but are manufactured almost entirely by primary producers. Therefore, the flow of EFAs, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and arachidonic acid (ARA), through aquatic food webs is critical for ecosystem functioning. A meta-analysis of data on the EFA content of marine organisms reveals that individual eggs of marine animals have exceptionally high concentrations of EFAs, and that superabundances of eggs released in temporally and spatially discrete patches create rich, but temporary, nutritional resources for egg predators, called "egg boons." Mortality rates of fish eggs are disproportionately higher than animals of similar size, and those eggs are consumed by predators, both larger and smaller than the adults that produce the eggs. Thus, egg boons are a major trophic pathway through which EFAs are repackaged and redistributed, and they are among the few pathways that run counter to the main direction of trophic flow. Egg boons can transport EFAs across ecosystems through advection of patches of eggs and spawning migrations of adults. Recognizing the significance of egg boons to aquatic food webs reveals linkages and feedbacks between organisms and environments that have important implications for understanding how food webs vary in time and space. Examples are given of top-down, bottom-up, and lateral control mechanisms that could significantly alter food webs through their effects on eggs. Our results suggest that trophodynamic food web models should include EFAs

  2. Food-web structure in relation to environmental gradients and predator-prey ratios in tank-bromeliad ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests.

  3. Food-Web Structure in Relation to Environmental Gradients and Predator-Prey Ratios in Tank-Bromeliad Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests. PMID:23977128

  4. Food-web structure in relation to environmental gradients and predator-prey ratios in tank-bromeliad ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests. PMID:23977128

  5. Food caching in orb-web spiders (Araneae: Araneoidea).

    PubMed

    Champion de Crespigny, F E; Herberstein, M E; Elgar, M A

    2001-01-01

    Caching or storing surplus prey may reduce the risk of starvation during periods of food deprivation. While this behaviour occurs in a variety of birds and mammals, it is infrequent among invertebrates. However, golden orb-web spiders, Nephila edulis, incorporate a prey cache in their relatively permanent web, which they feed on during periods of food shortage. Heavier spiders significantly reduced weight loss if they were able to access a cache, but lost weight if the cache was removed. The presence or absence of stored prey had no effect on the weight loss of lighter spiders. Furthermore, N. edulis always attacked new prey, irrespective of the number of unprocessed prey in the web. In contrast, females of Argiope keyserlingi, who build a new web every day and do not cache prey, attacked fewer new prey items if some had already been caught. Thus, a necessary preadaptation to the evolution of prey caching in orb-web spiders may be a durable or permanent web, such as that constructed by Nephila.

  6. A new modeling approach to define marine ecosystems food-web status with uncertainty assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaalali, Aurélie; Saint-Béat, Blanche; Lassalle, Géraldine; Le Loc'h, François; Tecchio, Samuele; Safi, Georges; Savenkoff, Claude; Lobry, Jérémy; Niquil, Nathalie

    2015-06-01

    Ecosystem models are currently one of the most powerful approaches used to project and analyse the consequences of anthropogenic and climate-driven changes in food web structure and function. The modeling community is however still finding the effective representation of microbial processes as challenging and lacks of techniques for assessing flow uncertainty explicitly. A linear inverse model of the Bay of Biscay continental shelf was built using a Monte Carlo method coupled with a Markov Chain (LIM-MCMC) to characterize the system's trophic food-web status and its associated structural and functional properties. By taking into account the natural variability of ecosystems (and their associated flows) and the lack of data on these environments, this innovative approach enabled the quantification of uncertainties for both estimated flows and derived food-web indices. This uncertainty assessment constituted a real improvement on the existing Ecopath model for the same area and both models results were compared. Our results suggested a food web characterized by main flows at the basis of the food web and a high contribution of primary producers and detritus to the entire system input flows. The developmental stage of the ecosystem was characterized using estimated Ecological Network Analysis (ENA) indices; the LIM-MCMC produced a higher estimate of flow specialization (than the estimate from Ecopath) owing to better consideration of bacterial processes. The results also pointed to a detritus-based food-web with a web-like structure and an intermediate level of internal flow complexity, confirming the results of previous studies. Other current research on ecosystem model comparability is also presented.

  7. Unravelling the Food Web: Dietary Analysis in Modern Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Calver, M. C.; Porter, B. D.

    1986-01-01

    Presents information that gives a methodological background to the concept of food webs. Stresses the importance of calibrated techniques in ecological research and explains direct methods for studying animal diets. Exercises for gathering first-hand data on bird diets and analyzing secondary data on mammal diets are suggested. (ML)

  8. Ecohydrological Modeling of Food Webs in Stream Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdul-Aziz, O. I.; Wilson, B. N.; Gulliver, J. S.

    2007-12-01

    Dynamic biological processes in streams and rivers are essential aspects of ecohydrology. Numerical modeling of river food webs provides a useful vehicle for gaining insights into the scaling, self-organization and critical responses of these biological processes. Existing modeling literature is mostly limited to food webs with two or three trophic levels applied to marine or lake ecosystems. However, river ecosystems are distinctively different. They have a characteristic shorter residence time. Natural drivers (e.g., watershed and channel hydrology and geomorphology) as well as direct anthropogenic activities in rivers (e.g., building dams and reservoirs) play a vital role in shaping river food webs. Of particular interests are the benthic and non-benthic zones that have different physical, chemical and biological compositions. The authors developed food web models to capture the long- term dynamics of the total as well as that of the benthic and non-benthic zones in an interactive manner by emphasizing hydrologic drivers along with other environmental and geomorphologic constraints. These models are applied to several floodplain streams and rivers in Minnesota.

  9. Using a Simulation To Teach Food Web Dynamics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rueter, John G.; Perrin, Nancy A.

    1999-01-01

    Reports on research that tested the effect of using a computer simulation to teach the concept of a food web to nonbiology majors in a large introductory course. Concludes that the use of the simulation resulted in significantly better performance on an open-ended essay question for those students who used the software, particularly for average…

  10. Food Webs and Environmental Disturbance: What's the Connection?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ford, Bob; Smith, Bruce M.

    1994-01-01

    Two professors assert that it is not enough to simply tell students that all living organisms are mutually dependent. Describes an activity that allows students to become members of a food web and results in a greater understanding of and appreciation for the interdependencies of living things. Ideas for extension are provided. (ZWH)

  11. BENTHOS AS THE BASIS FOR ARCTIC FOOD WEBS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Plankton have traditionally been viewed as the basis for limnetic food webs, with zooplankton acting as a gateway for energy passing between phytoplanktonic primary producers and fish. Often, benthic production is considered to be important primarily in shallow systems or as a su...

  12. Stability and feedback levels in food web models.

    PubMed

    Smith, Matthew J; Sander, Elizabeth; Barabás, György; Allesina, Stefano

    2015-06-01

    Neutel & Thorne (Ecology Letters, 17:651-661, June 2014) provide an approximation for the leading eigenvalue of a food web community matrix involving coefficients of its characteristic polynomial. Though valuably incorporating three-way species interactions, two critical problems emerge when one considers the dimensions of the system, calling the approach's accuracy and precision into question.

  13. Methylmercury biomagnification in an Arctic pelagic food web.

    PubMed

    Ruus, Anders; Øverjordet, Ida B; Braaten, Hans Fredrik V; Evenset, Anita; Christensen, Guttorm; Heimstad, Eldbjørg S; Gabrielsen, Geir W; Borgå, Katrine

    2015-11-01

    Mercury (Hg) is a toxic element that enters the biosphere from natural and anthropogenic sources, and emitted gaseous Hg enters the Arctic from lower latitudes by long-range transport. In aquatic systems, anoxic conditions favor the bacterial transformation of inorganic Hg to methylmercury (MeHg), which has a greater potential for bioaccumulation than inorganic Hg and is the most toxic form of Hg. The main objective of the present study was to quantify the biomagnification of MeHg in a marine pelagic food web, comprising species of zooplankton, fish, and seabirds, from the Kongsfjorden system (Svalbard, Norway), by use of trophic magnification factors. As expected, tissue concentrations of MeHg increased with increasing trophic level in the food web, though at greater rates than observed in several earlier studies, especially at lower latitudes. There was strong correlation between MeHg and total Hg concentrations through the food web as a whole. The concentration of MeHg in kittiwake decreased from May to October, contributing to seasonal differences in trophic magnification factors. The ecology and physiology of the species comprising the food web in question may have a large influence on the magnitude of the biomagnification. A significant linear relationship was also observed between concentrations of selenium and total Hg in birds but not in zooplankton, suggesting the importance of selenium in Hg detoxification for individuals with high Hg concentrations. PMID:26274519

  14. Understanding food webs in the Chesapeake Bay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Keough, J.R.; Haramis, G.M.; Perry, M.C.; Perry, M.C.

    2002-01-01

    Approaches to predictive modeling and to management of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem are 'bottom up' (i.e., approaches involve the control of nutrient inputs in attempts to manage plankton productivity) and 'top down' (i.e., approaches involve controls on harvest of fisheries and wildlife in attempts to manage vertebrate populations). Both approaches are limited by a lack of understanding of trophic connections between nutrient inputs, primary producers, and higher trophic level consumers. This project is aimed at identifying trophic structure for the submersed aquatic vegetation habitat of the Chesapeake Bay. We are employing analysis of stable isotope ratios of plant and animal tissues to identify trophic levels and traditional food habits analysis to identify the foods of a number of species of waterfowl.

  15. Global Climate Change Interaction Web.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fortner, Rosanne W.

    1998-01-01

    Students investigate the effects of global climate change on life in the Great Lakes region in this activity. Teams working together construct as many links as possible for such factors as rainfall, lake water, evaporation, skiing, zebra mussels, wetlands, shipping, walleye, toxic chemicals, coastal homes, and population. (PVD)

  16. NATURAL AND ANTHROPOGENIC FACTORS INFLUENCING FOOD WEB STRUCTURE IN GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    We are investigating factors governing the biological organization of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Food web analyses using stable isotope techniques verify the role of algae as an energetic foundation, and also suggest that fundamental changes occur as a result of anthropogenic ...

  17. FOOD WEB STRUCTURE AS A POTENTIAL INDICATOR OF NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT IN GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Analyses of the food webs of Great Lakes coastal wetlands verify the role of algae as an energetic foundation, and also suggest that fundamental changes occur in response to both natural and anthropogenic influences. We analyzed coastal wetlands with a range of nutrient concentra...

  18. Effects of lake acidification and recovery on the stability of zooplankton food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Locke, A. ); Sprules, W.G. )

    1994-03-01

    The effect of food web structure on community stability and resilience has rarely been examined using empirical data. Yet there is a practical application for such studies insofar as resistance stability determines the ability of a system to adsorb' anthropogenic stress and adjustment stability determines the reversibility of resulting damage. The stability of zooplankton food webs in 46 Precambrian Shield lakes was examined using data collected in the 1970s, when pH ranged from 3.8 to 7.0, and in 1990, when pH had increased by up to two units in some lakes. Acidification overcame resistance stability at pH <5.0, as evidenced by decreases in species richness, numbers of predatory and competitive links, directed connectance, predator generalization, and linkage density, identified by analysis of variance. Adjustment stability was demonstrated by changes in food web attributes in lakes with higher pH in 1990 than in the 1970s. Species richness, numbers of predatory and competitive links, linkage density, and predator generalization all increased relative to the 1970s values. Food web attributes of recovering' lakes were statistically indistinguishable from those of lakes of similar pH that had not been more acidic in the 1970s. Similar trajectors of food web change were followed during environmental degradation and recovery. Planktonic food webs of anthropogenically acidified lakes may eventually recover to resemble their pre-acidification condition, given sufficient time without acidic inputs. Whether adjustment stability is a general feature of anthropogenically stressed systems remains to be determined. 42 refs., 2 figs., 4 tabs.

  19. Analyzing pelagic food webs leading to top predators in the Pacific Ocean: A graph-theoretic approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dambacher, Jeffrey M.; Young, Jock W.; Olson, Robert J.; Allain, Valérie; Galván-Magaña, Felipe; Lansdell, Matthew J.; Bocanegra-Castillo, Noemí; Alatorre-Ramírez, Vanessa; Cooper, Scott P.; Duffy, Leanne M.

    2010-07-01

    This work examined diet data from studies of top pelagic predators from three large regions of the equatorial and South Pacific Ocean. Food webs of each of these three systems were found to have relatively high species diversity, but in contrast to other marine systems, relatively low connectance. Food webs were examined using graph-theoretic methods, which included aggregating species based on food-web relationships and identification of potentially influential species. Species aggregations were used to construct simplified qualitative models from each region’s food web. Models from each region were then analyzed to make predictions of response to climate change for six commercially important species: mahi mahi, skipjack tuna, albacore tuna, yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, and swordfish. We found little commonality in the structure of the three food webs, although the two regions in the equatorial Pacific had food webs composed of four predation tiers, as defined by network levels of predation, whereas the south-western region had only three predation tiers. We also found no consistent pattern in the predicted outcomes of the perturbations, which underlines the need for detailed trophic databases to adequately describe regional pelagic ecosystems. This work demonstrates that food-web structure will be central to understanding and predicting how top pelagic predators, and the ecosystems in which they are embedded, will respond to climate change.

  20. Dynamics in a three species food-web system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gupta, K.; Gakkhar, S.

    2016-04-01

    In this paper, the dynamics of a three species food-web system is discussed. The food-web comprises of one predator and two logistically growing competing species. The predator species is taking food from one of the competitors with Holling type II functional response. Another competitor is the amensal species for the predator of first species. The system is shown to be positive and bounded. The stability of various axial points, boundary points and interior point has been investigated. The persistence of the system has been studied. Numerical simulation has been performed to show the occurrence of Hopf bifurcation and stable limit cycle about the interior point. The presence of second competitor and its interaction with predator gives more complex dynamics than the simple prey-predator system. The existence of transcritical bifurcation has been established about two axial points. The existence of periodic attractor having period-2 solution has been shown, when amensal coefficient is chosen as bifurcation parameter.

  1. URBANIZATION ALTERS FATTY ACID CONCENTRATIONS OF STREAM FOOD WEBS IN THE NARRAGANSETT BAY WATERSHED

    EPA Science Inventory

    Urbanization and associated human activities negatively affect stream algal and invertebrate assemblages, likely altering food webs. Our goal was to determine if urbanization affects food web essential fatty acids (EFAs) and if EFAs could be useful ecological indicators in monito...

  2. Designing an Illustrated Food Web to Teach Ecological Concepts: Challenges and Solutions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Godkin, Celia M.

    1999-01-01

    Argues that food webs are an efficient method through which to communicate the core idea of ecology--that all living things are interconnected. Assesses the challenges and solutions to using illustrated food webs. (Author/CCM)

  3. Seasonality in contaminant accumulation in Arctic marine pelagic food webs using trophic magnification factor as a measure of bioaccumulation.

    PubMed

    Hallanger, Ingeborg G; Warner, Nicholas A; Ruus, Anders; Evenset, Anita; Christensen, Guttorm; Herzke, Dorte; Gabrielsen, Geir W; Borgå, Katrine

    2011-05-01

    Seasonality in biomagnification of persistent organic pollutants (POPs; polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorinated pesticides, and brominated flame retardants) in Arctic marine pelagic food webs was investigated in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, Norway. Trophic magnification factors (TMFs; average factor change in concentration between two trophic levels) were used to measure food web biomagnification in biota in May, July, and October 2007. Pelagic zooplankton (seven species), fish (five species), and seabirds (two species) were included in the study. For most POP compounds, highest TMFs were found in July and lowest were in May. Seasonally changing TMFs were a result of seasonally changing POP concentrations and the δ¹⁵N-derived trophic positions of the species included in the food web. These seasonal differences in TMFs were independent of inclusion/exclusion of organisms based on physiology (i.e., warm- versus cold-blooded organisms) in the food web. The higher TMFs in July, when the food web consisted of a higher degree of boreal species, suggest that future warming of the Arctic and increased invasion by boreal species can result in increased food web magnification. Knowledge of the seasonal variation in POP biomagnification is a prerequisite for understanding changes in POP biomagnification caused by climate change.

  4. Seasonality in contaminant accumulation in Arctic marine pelagic food webs using trophic magnification factor as a measure of bioaccumulation.

    PubMed

    Hallanger, Ingeborg G; Warner, Nicholas A; Ruus, Anders; Evenset, Anita; Christensen, Guttorm; Herzke, Dorte; Gabrielsen, Geir W; Borgå, Katrine

    2011-05-01

    Seasonality in biomagnification of persistent organic pollutants (POPs; polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorinated pesticides, and brominated flame retardants) in Arctic marine pelagic food webs was investigated in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, Norway. Trophic magnification factors (TMFs; average factor change in concentration between two trophic levels) were used to measure food web biomagnification in biota in May, July, and October 2007. Pelagic zooplankton (seven species), fish (five species), and seabirds (two species) were included in the study. For most POP compounds, highest TMFs were found in July and lowest were in May. Seasonally changing TMFs were a result of seasonally changing POP concentrations and the δ¹⁵N-derived trophic positions of the species included in the food web. These seasonal differences in TMFs were independent of inclusion/exclusion of organisms based on physiology (i.e., warm- versus cold-blooded organisms) in the food web. The higher TMFs in July, when the food web consisted of a higher degree of boreal species, suggest that future warming of the Arctic and increased invasion by boreal species can result in increased food web magnification. Knowledge of the seasonal variation in POP biomagnification is a prerequisite for understanding changes in POP biomagnification caused by climate change. PMID:21312250

  5. Efficient Web Change Monitoring with Page Digest

    SciTech Connect

    Buttler, D J; Rocco, D; Liu, L

    2004-02-20

    The Internet and the World Wide Web have enabled a publishing explosion of useful online information, which has produced the unfortunate side effect of information overload: it is increasingly difficult for individuals to keep abreast of fresh information. In this paper we describe an approach for building a system for efficiently monitoring changes to Web documents. This paper has three main contributions. First, we present a coherent framework that captures different characteristics of Web documents. The system uses the Page Digest encoding to provide a comprehensive monitoring system for content, structure, and other interesting properties of Web documents. Second, the Page Digest encoding enables improved performance for individual page monitors through mechanisms such as short-circuit evaluation, linear time algorithms for document and structure similarity, and data size reduction. Finally, we develop a collection of sentinel grouping techniques based on the Page Digest encoding to reduce redundant processing in large-scale monitoring systems by grouping similar monitoring requests together. We examine how effective these techniques are over a wide range of parameters and have seen an order of magnitude speed up over existing Web-based information monitoring systems.

  6. Highly resolved early Eocene food webs show development of modern trophic structure after the end-Cretaceous extinction.

    PubMed

    Dunne, Jennifer A; Labandeira, Conrad C; Williams, Richard J

    2014-05-01

    Generalities of food web structure have been identified for extant ecosystems. However, the trophic organization of ancient ecosystems is unresolved, as prior studies of fossil webs have been limited by low-resolution, high-uncertainty data. We compiled highly resolved, well-documented feeding interaction data for 700 taxa from the 48 million-year-old latest early Eocene Messel Shale, which contains a species assemblage that developed after an interval of protracted environmental and biotal change during and following the end-Cretaceous extinction. We compared the network structure of Messel lake and forest food webs to extant webs using analyses that account for scale dependence of structure with diversity and complexity. The Messel lake web, with 94 taxa, displays unambiguous similarities in structure to extant webs. While the Messel forest web, with 630 taxa, displays differences compared to extant webs, they appear to result from high diversity and resolution of insect-plant interactions, rather than substantive differences in structure. The evidence presented here suggests that modern trophic organization developed along with the modern Messel biota during an 18 Myr interval of dramatic post-extinction change. Our study also has methodological implications, as the Messel forest web analysis highlights limitations of current food web data and models.

  7. Highly resolved early Eocene food webs show development of modern trophic structure after the end-Cretaceous extinction

    PubMed Central

    Dunne, Jennifer A.; Labandeira, Conrad C.; Williams, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    Generalities of food web structure have been identified for extant ecosystems. However, the trophic organization of ancient ecosystems is unresolved, as prior studies of fossil webs have been limited by low-resolution, high-uncertainty data. We compiled highly resolved, well-documented feeding interaction data for 700 taxa from the 48 million-year-old latest early Eocene Messel Shale, which contains a species assemblage that developed after an interval of protracted environmental and biotal change during and following the end-Cretaceous extinction. We compared the network structure of Messel lake and forest food webs to extant webs using analyses that account for scale dependence of structure with diversity and complexity. The Messel lake web, with 94 taxa, displays unambiguous similarities in structure to extant webs. While the Messel forest web, with 630 taxa, displays differences compared to extant webs, they appear to result from high diversity and resolution of insect–plant interactions, rather than substantive differences in structure. The evidence presented here suggests that modern trophic organization developed along with the modern Messel biota during an 18 Myr interval of dramatic post-extinction change. Our study also has methodological implications, as the Messel forest web analysis highlights limitations of current food web data and models. PMID:24648225

  8. Mercury in the Pelagic Food Web of Lake Champlain

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Celia; Kamman, Neil; Shanley, James; Chalmers, Ann; Jackson, Brian; Taylor, Vivien; Smeltzer, Eric; Stangel, Pete; Shambaugh, Angela

    2013-01-01

    Lake Champlain continues to experience mercury contamination resulting in public advisories to limit human consumption of top trophic level fish such as walleye. Prior research suggested that mercury levels in biota could be modified by differences in ecosystem productivity as well as mercury loadings. We investigated relationships between mercury in different trophic levels in Lake Champlain. We measured inorganic and methyl mercury in water, seston, and two size fractions of zooplankton from 13 sites representing a range of nutrient loading conditions and productivity. Biomass varied significantly across lake segments in all measured ecosystem compartments in response to significant differences in nutrient levels. Local environmental factors such as alkalinity influenced the partitioning of mercury between water and seston. Mercury incorporation into biota was influenced by the biomass and mercury content of different ecosystem strata. Pelagic fish tissue mercury was a function of fish length and the size of the mercury pool associated with large zooplankton. We used these observations to parameterize a model of mercury transfers in the Lake Champlain food web that accounts for ecosystem productivity effects. Simulations using the mercury trophic transfer model suggest that reductions of 25 to 75% in summertime dissolved eplimnetic total mercury will likely allow fish tissue mercury concentrations to drop to the target level of 0.3 µg g−1 in a 40-cm fish in all lake segments. Changes in nutrient loading and ecosystem productivity in eutrophic segments may delay any response to reduced dissolved mercury and may result in increases in fish tissue mercury. PMID:22193540

  9. Mercury in the pelagic food web of Lake Champlain.

    PubMed

    Miller, Eric K; Chen, Celia; Kamman, Neil; Shanley, James; Chalmers, Ann; Jackson, Brian; Taylor, Vivien; Smeltzer, Eric; Stangel, Pete; Shambaugh, Angela

    2012-04-01

    Lake Champlain continues to experience mercury contamination resulting in public advisories to limit human consumption of top trophic level fish such as walleye. Prior research suggested that mercury levels in biota could be modified by differences in ecosystem productivity as well as mercury loadings. We investigated relationships between mercury in different trophic levels in Lake Champlain. We measured inorganic and methyl mercury in water, seston, and two size fractions of zooplankton from 13 sites representing a range of nutrient loading conditions and productivity. Biomass varied significantly across lake segments in all measured ecosystem compartments in response to significant differences in nutrient levels. Local environmental factors such as alkalinity influenced the partitioning of mercury between water and seston. Mercury incorporation into biota was influenced by the biomass and mercury content of different ecosystem strata. Pelagic fish tissue mercury was a function of fish length and the size of the mercury pool associated with large zooplankton. We used these observations to parameterize a model of mercury transfers in the Lake Champlain food web that accounts for ecosystem productivity effects. Simulations using the mercury trophic transfer model suggest that reductions of 25-75% in summertime dissolved eplimnetic total mercury will likely allow fish tissue mercury concentrations to drop to the target level of 0.3 μg g(-1) in a 40-cm fish in all lake segments. Changes in nutrient loading and ecosystem productivity in eutrophic segments may delay any response to reduced dissolved mercury and may result in increases in fish tissue mercury.

  10. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-10-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity.

  11. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-01-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity. PMID:27703157

  12. The assembly, collapse and restoration of food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dobson, Andy; Allesina, Stefano; Lafferty, Kevin; Pascual, Mercedes

    2009-01-01

    Darwin chose the metaphor of a 'tangled bank' to conclude the 'Origin of species'. Two centuries after Darwin's birth, we are still untangling the complex ecological networks he has pondered. In particular, studies of food webs provide important insights into how natural ecosystems function (Pascual & Dunne 2005). Although the nonlinear interactions between many species creates challenges of scale, resolution of data and significant computational constraints, the last 10 years have seen significant advances built on the earlier classic studies of Cohen, May, Pimm, Polis, Lawton and Yodzis (May 1974; Cohen 1978; Pimm 1982; Briand & Cohen 1984, 1987; Yodzis 1989; Cohen et al. 1990; Pimm et al. 1991; Yodzis & Innes 1992; Yodzis 1998). These gains stem from advances in computing power and the collation of more comprehensive data from a broader array of empirical food webs.

  13. Nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria stimulates production in Baltic food webs.

    PubMed

    Karlson, Agnes M L; Duberg, Jon; Motwani, Nisha H; Hogfors, Hedvig; Klawonn, Isabell; Ploug, Helle; Barthel Svedén, Jennie; Garbaras, Andrius; Sundelin, Brita; Hajdu, Susanna; Larsson, Ulf; Elmgren, Ragnar; Gorokhova, Elena

    2015-06-01

    Filamentous, nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria form extensive summer blooms in the Baltic Sea. Their ability to fix dissolved N2 allows cyanobacteria to circumvent the general summer nitrogen limitation, while also generating a supply of novel bioavailable nitrogen for the food web. However, the fate of the nitrogen fixed by cyanobacteria remains unresolved, as does its importance for secondary production in the Baltic Sea. Here, we synthesize recent experimental and field studies providing strong empirical evidence that cyanobacterial nitrogen is efficiently assimilated and transferred in Baltic food webs via two major pathways: directly by grazing on fresh or decaying cyanobacteria and indirectly through the uptake by other phytoplankton and microbes of bioavailable nitrogen exuded from cyanobacterial cells. This information is an essential step toward guiding nutrient management to minimize noxious blooms without overly reducing secondary production, and ultimately most probably fish production in the Baltic Sea.

  14. Phylogenetic constraints and adaptation explain food-web structure.

    PubMed

    Cattin, Marie-France; Bersier, Louis-Félix; Banasek-Richter, Carolin; Baltensperger, Richard; Gabriel, Jean-Pierre

    2004-02-26

    Food webs are descriptions of who eats whom in an ecosystem. Although extremely complex and variable, their structure possesses basic regularities. A fascinating question is to find a simple model capturing the underlying processes behind these repeatable patterns. Until now, two models have been devised for the description of trophic interactions within a natural community. Both are essentially based on the concept of ecological niche, with the consumers organized along a single niche dimension; for example, prey size. Unfortunately, they fail to describe adequately recent and high-quality data. Here, we propose a new model built on the hypothesis that any species' diet is the consequence of phylogenetic constraints and adaptation. Simple rules incorporating both concepts yield food webs whose structure is very close to real data. Consumers are organized in groups forming a nested hierarchy, which better reflects the complexity and multidimensionality of most natural systems.

  15. Hamiltonian dynamics for complex food webs.

    PubMed

    Kozlov, Vladimir; Vakulenko, Sergey; Wennergren, Uno

    2016-03-01

    We investigate stability and dynamics of large ecological networks by introducing classical methods of dynamical system theory from physics, including Hamiltonian and averaging methods. Our analysis exploits the topological structure of the network, namely the existence of strongly connected nodes (hubs) in the networks. We reveal new relations between topology, interaction structure, and network dynamics. We describe mechanisms of catastrophic phenomena leading to sharp changes of dynamics and hence completely altering the ecosystem. We also show how these phenomena depend on the structure of interaction between species. We can conclude that a Hamiltonian structure of biological interactions leads to stability and large biodiversity. PMID:27078396

  16. Hamiltonian dynamics for complex food webs.

    PubMed

    Kozlov, Vladimir; Vakulenko, Sergey; Wennergren, Uno

    2016-03-01

    We investigate stability and dynamics of large ecological networks by introducing classical methods of dynamical system theory from physics, including Hamiltonian and averaging methods. Our analysis exploits the topological structure of the network, namely the existence of strongly connected nodes (hubs) in the networks. We reveal new relations between topology, interaction structure, and network dynamics. We describe mechanisms of catastrophic phenomena leading to sharp changes of dynamics and hence completely altering the ecosystem. We also show how these phenomena depend on the structure of interaction between species. We can conclude that a Hamiltonian structure of biological interactions leads to stability and large biodiversity.

  17. Hamiltonian dynamics for complex food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kozlov, Vladimir; Vakulenko, Sergey; Wennergren, Uno

    2016-03-01

    We investigate stability and dynamics of large ecological networks by introducing classical methods of dynamical system theory from physics, including Hamiltonian and averaging methods. Our analysis exploits the topological structure of the network, namely the existence of strongly connected nodes (hubs) in the networks. We reveal new relations between topology, interaction structure, and network dynamics. We describe mechanisms of catastrophic phenomena leading to sharp changes of dynamics and hence completely altering the ecosystem. We also show how these phenomena depend on the structure of interaction between species. We can conclude that a Hamiltonian structure of biological interactions leads to stability and large biodiversity.

  18. Simulating food web dynamics along a gradient: quantifying human influence.

    PubMed

    Jordán, Ferenc; Gjata, Nerta; Mei, Shu; Yule, Catherine M

    2012-01-01

    Realistically parameterized and dynamically simulated food-webs are useful tool to explore the importance of the functional diversity of ecosystems, and in particular relations between the dynamics of species and the whole community. We present a stochastic dynamical food web simulation for the Kelian River (Borneo). The food web was constructed for six different locations, arrayed along a gradient of increasing human perturbation (mostly resulting from gold mining activities) along the river. Along the river, the relative importance of grazers, filterers and shredders decreases with increasing disturbance downstream, while predators become more dominant in governing eco-dynamics. Human activity led to increased turbidity and sedimentation which adversely impacts primary productivity. Since the main difference between the study sites was not the composition of the food webs (structure is quite similar) but the strengths of interactions and the abundance of the trophic groups, a dynamical simulation approach seemed to be useful to better explain human influence. In the pristine river (study site 1), when comparing a structural version of our model with the dynamical model we found that structurally central groups such as omnivores and carnivores were not the most important ones dynamically. Instead, primary consumers such as invertebrate grazers and shredders generated a greater dynamical response. Based on the dynamically most important groups, bottom-up control is replaced by the predominant top-down control regime as distance downstream and human disturbance increased. An important finding, potentially explaining the poor structure to dynamics relationship, is that indirect effects are at least as important as direct ones during the simulations. We suggest that our approach and this simulation framework could serve systems-based conservation efforts. Quantitative indicators on the relative importance of trophic groups and the mechanistic modeling of eco

  19. Simulating food web dynamics along a gradient: quantifying human influence.

    PubMed

    Jordán, Ferenc; Gjata, Nerta; Mei, Shu; Yule, Catherine M

    2012-01-01

    Realistically parameterized and dynamically simulated food-webs are useful tool to explore the importance of the functional diversity of ecosystems, and in particular relations between the dynamics of species and the whole community. We present a stochastic dynamical food web simulation for the Kelian River (Borneo). The food web was constructed for six different locations, arrayed along a gradient of increasing human perturbation (mostly resulting from gold mining activities) along the river. Along the river, the relative importance of grazers, filterers and shredders decreases with increasing disturbance downstream, while predators become more dominant in governing eco-dynamics. Human activity led to increased turbidity and sedimentation which adversely impacts primary productivity. Since the main difference between the study sites was not the composition of the food webs (structure is quite similar) but the strengths of interactions and the abundance of the trophic groups, a dynamical simulation approach seemed to be useful to better explain human influence. In the pristine river (study site 1), when comparing a structural version of our model with the dynamical model we found that structurally central groups such as omnivores and carnivores were not the most important ones dynamically. Instead, primary consumers such as invertebrate grazers and shredders generated a greater dynamical response. Based on the dynamically most important groups, bottom-up control is replaced by the predominant top-down control regime as distance downstream and human disturbance increased. An important finding, potentially explaining the poor structure to dynamics relationship, is that indirect effects are at least as important as direct ones during the simulations. We suggest that our approach and this simulation framework could serve systems-based conservation efforts. Quantitative indicators on the relative importance of trophic groups and the mechanistic modeling of eco

  20. Scaling behaviors of weighted food webs as energy transportation networks.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jiang; Guo, Liangpeng

    2010-06-01

    Food webs can be regarded as energy transporting networks in which the weight of each edge denotes the energy flux between two species. By investigating 21 empirical weighted food webs as energy flow networks, we found several ubiquitous scaling behaviors. Two random variables A(i) and C(i) defined for each vertex i, representing the total flux (also called vertex intensity) and total indirect effect or energy store of i, were found to follow power law distributions with the exponents alpha approximately 1.32 and beta approximately 1.33, respectively. Another scaling behavior is the power law relationship, C(i) approximately A(i)(eta), where eta approximately 1.02. This is known as the allometric scaling power law relationship because A(i) can be treated as metabolism and C(i) as the body mass of the sub-network rooted from the vertex i, according to the algorithm presented in this paper. Finally, a simple relationship among these power law exponents, eta=(alpha-1)/(beta-1), was mathematically derived and tested by the empirical food webs.

  1. Tracking the autochthonous carbon transfer in stream biofilm food webs.

    PubMed

    Risse-Buhl, Ute; Trefzger, Nicolai; Seifert, Anne-Gret; Schönborn, Wilfried; Gleixner, Gerd; Küsel, Kirsten

    2012-01-01

    Food webs in the rhithral zone rely mainly on allochthonous carbon from the riparian vegetation. However, autochthonous carbon might be more important in open canopy streams. In streams, most of the microbial activity occurs in biofilms, associated with the streambed. We followed the autochthonous carbon transfer toward bacteria and grazing protozoa within a stream biofilm food web. Biofilms that developed in a second-order stream (Thuringia, Germany) were incubated in flow channels under climate-controlled conditions. Six-week-old biofilms received either ¹³C- or ¹²C-labeled CO₂, and uptake into phospholipid fatty acids was followed. The dissolved inorganic carbon of the flow channel water became immediately labeled. In biofilms grown under 8-h light/16-h dark conditions, more than 50% of the labeled carbon was incorporated in biofilm algae, mainly filamentous cyanobacteria, pennate diatoms, and nonfilamentous green algae. A mean of 29% of the labeled carbon reached protozoan grazer. The testate amoeba Pseudodifflugia horrida was highly abundant in biofilms and seemed to be the most important grazer on biofilm bacteria and algae. Hence, stream biofilms dominated by cyanobacteria and algae seem to play an important role in the uptake of CO₂ and transfer of autochthonous carbon through the microbial food web. PMID:22067054

  2. Emergence of evolutionary cycles in size-structured food webs.

    PubMed

    Ritterskamp, Daniel; Bearup, Daniel; Blasius, Bernd

    2016-11-01

    The interplay of population dynamics and evolution within ecological communities has been of long-standing interest for ecologists and can give rise to evolutionary cycles, e.g. taxon cycles. Evolutionary cycling was intensely studied in small communities with asymmetric competition; the latter drives the evolutionary processes. Here we demonstrate that evolutionary cycling arises naturally in larger communities if trophic interactions are present, since these are intrinsically asymmetric. To investigate the evolutionary dynamics of a trophic community, we use an allometric food web model. We find that evolutionary cycles emerge naturally for a large parameter ranges. The origin of the evolutionary dynamics is an intrinsic asymmetry in the feeding kernel which creates an evolutionary ratchet, driving species towards larger bodysize. We reveal different kinds of cycles: single morph cycles, and coevolutionary and mixed cycling of complete food webs. The latter refers to the case where each trophic level can have different evolutionary dynamics. We discuss the generality of our findings and conclude that ongoing evolution in food webs may be more frequent than commonly believed. PMID:27544419

  3. Tracking the autochthonous carbon transfer in stream biofilm food webs.

    PubMed

    Risse-Buhl, Ute; Trefzger, Nicolai; Seifert, Anne-Gret; Schönborn, Wilfried; Gleixner, Gerd; Küsel, Kirsten

    2012-01-01

    Food webs in the rhithral zone rely mainly on allochthonous carbon from the riparian vegetation. However, autochthonous carbon might be more important in open canopy streams. In streams, most of the microbial activity occurs in biofilms, associated with the streambed. We followed the autochthonous carbon transfer toward bacteria and grazing protozoa within a stream biofilm food web. Biofilms that developed in a second-order stream (Thuringia, Germany) were incubated in flow channels under climate-controlled conditions. Six-week-old biofilms received either ¹³C- or ¹²C-labeled CO₂, and uptake into phospholipid fatty acids was followed. The dissolved inorganic carbon of the flow channel water became immediately labeled. In biofilms grown under 8-h light/16-h dark conditions, more than 50% of the labeled carbon was incorporated in biofilm algae, mainly filamentous cyanobacteria, pennate diatoms, and nonfilamentous green algae. A mean of 29% of the labeled carbon reached protozoan grazer. The testate amoeba Pseudodifflugia horrida was highly abundant in biofilms and seemed to be the most important grazer on biofilm bacteria and algae. Hence, stream biofilms dominated by cyanobacteria and algae seem to play an important role in the uptake of CO₂ and transfer of autochthonous carbon through the microbial food web.

  4. Emergence of evolutionary cycles in size-structured food webs.

    PubMed

    Ritterskamp, Daniel; Bearup, Daniel; Blasius, Bernd

    2016-11-01

    The interplay of population dynamics and evolution within ecological communities has been of long-standing interest for ecologists and can give rise to evolutionary cycles, e.g. taxon cycles. Evolutionary cycling was intensely studied in small communities with asymmetric competition; the latter drives the evolutionary processes. Here we demonstrate that evolutionary cycling arises naturally in larger communities if trophic interactions are present, since these are intrinsically asymmetric. To investigate the evolutionary dynamics of a trophic community, we use an allometric food web model. We find that evolutionary cycles emerge naturally for a large parameter ranges. The origin of the evolutionary dynamics is an intrinsic asymmetry in the feeding kernel which creates an evolutionary ratchet, driving species towards larger bodysize. We reveal different kinds of cycles: single morph cycles, and coevolutionary and mixed cycling of complete food webs. The latter refers to the case where each trophic level can have different evolutionary dynamics. We discuss the generality of our findings and conclude that ongoing evolution in food webs may be more frequent than commonly believed.

  5. Semantic annotation of Web data applied to risk in food.

    PubMed

    Hignette, Gaëlle; Buche, Patrice; Couvert, Olivier; Dibie-Barthélemy, Juliette; Doussot, David; Haemmerlé, Ollivier; Mettler, Eric; Soler, Lydie

    2008-11-30

    A preliminary step to risk in food assessment is the gathering of experimental data. In the framework of the Sym'Previus project (http://www.symprevius.org), a complete data integration system has been designed, grouping data provided by industrial partners and data extracted from papers published in the main scientific journals of the domain. Those data have been classified by means of a predefined vocabulary, called ontology. Our aim is to complement the database with data extracted from the Web. In the framework of the WebContent project (www.webcontent.fr), we have designed a semi-automatic acquisition tool, called @WEB, which retrieves scientific documents from the Web. During the @WEB process, data tables are extracted from the documents and then annotated with the ontology. We focus on the data tables as they contain, in general, a synthesis of data published in the documents. In this paper, we explain how the columns of the data tables are automatically annotated with data types of the ontology and how the relations represented by the table are recognised. We also give the results of our experimentation to assess the quality of such an annotation.

  6. Biochemical tracers reveal intra-specific differences in the food webs utilized by individual seabirds.

    PubMed

    Hebert, Craig E; Weseloh, D V Chip; Gauthier, Lewis T; Arts, Michael T; Letcher, Robert J

    2009-05-01

    Food web structure regulates the pathways and flow rates of energy, nutrients, and contaminants to top predators. Ecologically and physiologically meaningful biochemical tracers provide a means to characterize and quantify these transfers within food webs. In this study, changes in the ratios of stable N isotopes (e.g., delta(15)N), fatty acids (FA), and persistent contaminants were used to trace food web pathways utilized by herring gulls (Larus argentatus) breeding along the shores of the St Lawrence River, Canada. Egg delta(15)N values varied significantly among years and were used as an indicator of gull trophic position. Temporal trends in egg delta(15)N values were related to egg FA profiles. In years when egg delta(15)N values were greater, egg FA patterns reflected the consumption of more aquatic prey. Egg delta(15)N values were also correlated with annual estimates of prey fish abundance. These results indicated that temporal changes in aquatic prey availability were reflected in the gull diet (as inferred from ecological tracer profiles in gull eggs). Analysis of individual eggs within years confirmed that birds consuming more aquatic prey occupied higher trophic positions. Furthermore, increases in trophic position were associated with increased concentrations of most persistent organic contaminants in eggs. However, levels of highly brominated polybrominated diphenyl ether congeners, e.g, 2,2',3,3',4,4',5,5',6,6'-decabromoDE (BDE-209), showed a negative relationship with trophic position. These contrasting findings reflected differences among contaminant groups/homologs in terms of their predominant routes of transfer, i.e., aquatic versus terrestrial food webs. High trophic level omnivores, e.g., herring gulls, are common in food webs. By characterizing ecological tracer profiles in such species we can better understand spatial, temporal, and individual differences in pathways of contaminant, energy, and nutrient flow.

  7. Climatic seasonality may affect ecological network structure: food webs and mutualistic networks.

    PubMed

    Takemoto, Kazuhiro; Kanamaru, Saori; Feng, Wenfeng

    2014-07-01

    Ecological networks exhibit non-random structural patterns, such as modularity and nestedness, which determine ecosystem stability with species diversity and connectance. Such structure-stability relationships are well known. However, another important perspective is less well understood: the relationship between the environment and structure. Inspired by theoretical studies that suggest that network structure can change due to environmental variability, we collected data on a number of empirical food webs and mutualistic networks and evaluated the effect of climatic seasonality on ecological network structure. As expected, we found that climatic seasonality affects ecological network structure. In particular, an increase in modularity due to climatic seasonality was observed in food webs; however, it is debatable whether this occurs in mutualistic networks. Interestingly, the type of climatic seasonality that affects network structure differs with ecosystem type. Rainfall and temperature seasonality influence freshwater food webs and mutualistic networks, respectively; food webs are smaller, and more modular, with increasing rainfall seasonality. Mutualistic networks exhibit a higher diversity (particularly of animals) with increasing temperature seasonality. These results confirm the theoretical prediction that the stability increases with greater perturbation. Although these results are still debatable because of several limitations in the data analysis, they may enhance our understanding of environment-structure relationships.

  8. Compartments in a marine food web associated with phylogeny, body mass, and habitat structure.

    PubMed

    Rezende, Enrico L; Albert, Eva M; Fortuna, Miguel A; Bascompte, Jordi

    2009-08-01

    A long-standing question in community ecology is whether food webs are organized in compartments, where species within the same compartment interact frequently among themselves, but show fewer interactions with species from other compartments. Finding evidence for this community organization is important since compartmentalization may strongly affect food web robustness to perturbation. However, few studies have found unequivocal evidence of compartments, and none has quantified the suite of mechanisms generating such a structure. Here, we combine computational tools from the physics of complex networks with phylogenetic statistical methods to show that a large marine food web is organized in compartments, and that body size, phylogeny, and spatial structure are jointly associated with such a compartmentalized structure. Sharks account for the majority of predatory interactions within their compartments. Phylogenetically closely related shark species tend to occupy different compartments and have divergent trophic levels, suggesting that competition may play an important role structuring some of these compartments. Current overfishing of sharks has the potential to change the structural properties, which might eventually affect the stability of the food web. PMID:19490028

  9. Compartments in a marine food web associated with phylogeny, body mass, and habitat structure.

    PubMed

    Rezende, Enrico L; Albert, Eva M; Fortuna, Miguel A; Bascompte, Jordi

    2009-08-01

    A long-standing question in community ecology is whether food webs are organized in compartments, where species within the same compartment interact frequently among themselves, but show fewer interactions with species from other compartments. Finding evidence for this community organization is important since compartmentalization may strongly affect food web robustness to perturbation. However, few studies have found unequivocal evidence of compartments, and none has quantified the suite of mechanisms generating such a structure. Here, we combine computational tools from the physics of complex networks with phylogenetic statistical methods to show that a large marine food web is organized in compartments, and that body size, phylogeny, and spatial structure are jointly associated with such a compartmentalized structure. Sharks account for the majority of predatory interactions within their compartments. Phylogenetically closely related shark species tend to occupy different compartments and have divergent trophic levels, suggesting that competition may play an important role structuring some of these compartments. Current overfishing of sharks has the potential to change the structural properties, which might eventually affect the stability of the food web.

  10. Reducing Methylmercury Accumulation in the Food Webs of San Francisco Bay and Its Local Watersheds

    PubMed Central

    Davis, J.A.; Looker, R.E.; Yee, D.; Marvin-DiPasquale, M.; Grenier, J.L.; Austin, C.M.; McKee, L.J.; Greenfield, B.K.; Brodberg, R.; Blum, J.D.

    2013-01-01

    from urban runoff. Atmospheric deposition is a lower priority for source control in the Bay Area due to a combination of a lack of major local sources and Hg isotope data indicating it is a secondary contributor to food web MeHg. Internal net production of MeHg is the dominant source of MeHg that enters the food web. Controlling internal net production is the second primary management approach, and has the potential to reduce food web MeHg more effectively and within a much shorter time-frame. MeHg cycling and control opportunities vary by habitat. Controlling net MeHg production and accumulation in the food web of upstream reservoirs and ponds is very promising due to the many features of these ecosystems that can be manipulated. The most feasible control options in tidal marshes relate to the design of flow patterns and subhabitats in restoration projects. Options for controlling MeHg production in open Bay habitat are limited due primarily to the highly dispersed distribution of Hg throughout the ecosystem. Other changes in these habitats may also have a large influence on food web MeHg, including temperature changes due to global warming, sea level rise, food web alterations due to introduced species and other causes, and changes in sediment supply. Other options for reducing or mitigating exposure and risk include controlling bioaccumulation, cleanup of contaminated sites, and reducing other factors (e.g., habitat availability) that limit at risk wildlife populations. PMID:23122771

  11. Protozoan pulses unveil their pivotal position within the soil food web.

    PubMed

    Crotty, Felicity V; Adl, Sina M; Blackshaw, Rod P; Murray, Philip J

    2012-05-01

    Protozoa are one of the most abundant groups of bacterivores within the soil and are responsible for mineralisation of bacterial biomass, having a large impact on C and N cycling. Little is known of their contribution to soil nutrient transfers or the identity of their consumers. Here, for the first time indigenous flagellates and ciliates, enriched to 83 atom% for (13)C and 10 atom% for (15)N, were introduced to soil cores from two different land managements, grassland and woodland with the same soil type, to trace the flow of protozoan C and N through the soil food web. Nematodes, Collembola, earthworms and insect larvae obtained the greatest amounts of C and N of protozoan origin, either through direct consumption or uptake of biomass post-cell death. Our results show that changes in management, affect the functioning of the soil food web and the utilisation of protozoa as a food source.

  12. Land Use Affects Carbon Sources to the Pelagic Food Web in a Small Boreal Lake

    PubMed Central

    Rinta, Päivi; van Hardenbroek, Maarten; Jones, Roger I.; Kankaala, Paula; Rey, Fabian; Szidat, Sönke; Wooller, Matthew J.; Heiri, Oliver

    2016-01-01

    Small humic forest lakes often have high contributions of methane-derived carbon in their food webs but little is known about the temporal stability of this carbon pathway and how it responds to environmental changes on longer time scales. We reconstructed past variations in the contribution of methanogenic carbon in the pelagic food web of a small boreal lake in Finland by analyzing the stable carbon isotopic composition (δ13C values) of chitinous fossils of planktivorous invertebrates in sediments from the lake. The δ13C values of zooplankton remains show several marked shifts (approx. 10 ‰), consistent with changes in the proportional contribution of carbon from methane-oxidizing bacteria in zooplankton diets. The results indicate that the lake only recently (1950s) obtained its present state with a high contribution of methanogenic carbon to the pelagic food web. A comparison with historical and palaeobotanical evidence indicates that this most recent shift coincided with agricultural land-use changes and forestation of the lake catchment and implies that earlier shifts may also have been related to changes in forest and land use. Our study demonstrates the sensitivity of the carbon cycle in small forest lakes to external forcing and that the effects of past changes in local land use on lacustrine carbon cycling have to be taken into account when defining environmental and ecological reference conditions in boreal headwater lakes. PMID:27487044

  13. Land Use Affects Carbon Sources to the Pelagic Food Web in a Small Boreal Lake.

    PubMed

    Rinta, Päivi; van Hardenbroek, Maarten; Jones, Roger I; Kankaala, Paula; Rey, Fabian; Szidat, Sönke; Wooller, Matthew J; Heiri, Oliver

    2016-01-01

    Small humic forest lakes often have high contributions of methane-derived carbon in their food webs but little is known about the temporal stability of this carbon pathway and how it responds to environmental changes on longer time scales. We reconstructed past variations in the contribution of methanogenic carbon in the pelagic food web of a small boreal lake in Finland by analyzing the stable carbon isotopic composition (δ13C values) of chitinous fossils of planktivorous invertebrates in sediments from the lake. The δ13C values of zooplankton remains show several marked shifts (approx. 10 ‰), consistent with changes in the proportional contribution of carbon from methane-oxidizing bacteria in zooplankton diets. The results indicate that the lake only recently (1950s) obtained its present state with a high contribution of methanogenic carbon to the pelagic food web. A comparison with historical and palaeobotanical evidence indicates that this most recent shift coincided with agricultural land-use changes and forestation of the lake catchment and implies that earlier shifts may also have been related to changes in forest and land use. Our study demonstrates the sensitivity of the carbon cycle in small forest lakes to external forcing and that the effects of past changes in local land use on lacustrine carbon cycling have to be taken into account when defining environmental and ecological reference conditions in boreal headwater lakes. PMID:27487044

  14. The food web of a tropical rain forest

    SciTech Connect

    Reagan, D.P.; Waide, R.B.

    1996-12-31

    This book summarizes the natural history and trophic dynamics of a relatively simple tropical rain forest community. The community consists of the plants and animals inhabiting a 40 ha area of forest around the El Verde Field Station in the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico. The understanding is based on three decades (1963 to 1993) of investigations conducted or coordinated by the biologists in the Terrestrial Ecology Division of the University of Puerto Rico (formerly the Center for Energy and Environment Research) and by many visiting scientists who have worked at El Verde. The authors construct a comprehensive food web documenting the relationships among species in this community as a means of organizing the information that`s been collected. Lay-people, students, academics, resource managers, professional scientists, and others interested in the natural history of tropical forests should find points of interest in this book. In addition, ecologists specializing in the study of trophic dynamics are provided with a detailed food web from a biome underrepresented in the available data base and with the interpretations of the importance of this web.

  15. Automated Discovery of Food Webs from Ecological Data Using Logic-Based Machine Learning

    PubMed Central

    Bohan, David A.; Caron-Lormier, Geoffrey; Muggleton, Stephen; Raybould, Alan; Tamaddoni-Nezhad, Alireza

    2011-01-01

    Networks of trophic links (food webs) are used to describe and understand mechanistic routes for translocation of energy (biomass) between species. However, a relatively low proportion of ecosystems have been studied using food web approaches due to difficulties in making observations on large numbers of species. In this paper we demonstrate that Machine Learning of food webs, using a logic-based approach called A/ILP, can generate plausible and testable food webs from field sample data. Our example data come from a national-scale Vortis suction sampling of invertebrates from arable fields in Great Britain. We found that 45 invertebrate species or taxa, representing approximately 25% of the sample and about 74% of the invertebrate individuals included in the learning, were hypothesized to be linked. As might be expected, detritivore Collembola were consistently the most important prey. Generalist and omnivorous carabid beetles were hypothesized to be the dominant predators of the system. We were, however, surprised by the importance of carabid larvae suggested by the machine learning as predators of a wide variety of prey. High probability links were hypothesized for widespread, potentially destabilizing, intra-guild predation; predictions that could be experimentally tested. Many of the high probability links in the model have already been observed or suggested for this system, supporting our contention that A/ILP learning can produce plausible food webs from sample data, independent of our preconceptions about “who eats whom.” Well-characterised links in the literature correspond with links ascribed with high probability through A/ILP. We believe that this very general Machine Learning approach has great power and could be used to extend and test our current theories of agricultural ecosystem dynamics and function. In particular, we believe it could be used to support the development of a wider theory of ecosystem responses to environmental change. PMID

  16. Bioaccumulation of toxaphene congeners in the lake superior food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muir, D.C.G.; Whittle, D.M.; De Vault, D. S.; Bronte, C.R.; Karlsson, H.; Backus, S.; Teixeira, C.

    2004-01-01

    The bioaccumulation and biotransformation of toxaphene was examined in the food webs of Lake Superior and Siskiwit Lake (Isle Royale) using congener specific analysis as well as stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen to characterize food webs. Toxaphene concentrations (calculated using technical toxaphene) in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) from the western basin of Lake Superior (N = 95) averaged (±SD) 889 ± 896 ng/g wet wt and 60 ± 34 ng/g wet wt in Siskiwit Lake. Major congeners in lake trout were B8-789 (P38), B8-2226 (P44), B9-1679 (P50), and B9-1025 (P62). Toxaphene concentrations were found to vary seasonally, especially in lower food web organisms in Lake Superior and to a lesser extent in Siskiwit Lake. Toxaphene concentrations declined significantly in lake herring (Coregonus artedii), rainbow smelt (Omerus mordax), and slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus) as well as in zooplankton (> 102 &mn;m) and Mysis (Mysis relicta) between May and October. The seasonal variation may reflect seasonal shifts in the species abundance within the zooplankton community. Trophic magnification factors (TMF) derived from regressions of toxaphene congener concentrations versus δ15N were > 1 for most octa- and nonachlorobornanes in Lake Superior except B8-1413 (P26) and B9-715. Log bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for toxaphene congeners in lake trout (ng/g lipid/ng/L dissolved) ranged from 4.54 to 9.7 and were significantly correlated with log octanol-water partition coefficients. TMFs observed for total toxaphene and congener B9-1679 in Lake Superior were similar to those in Arctic lakes, as well as to previous studies in the Great Lakes, which suggests that the bioaccumulation behavior of toxaphene is similar in pelagic food webs of large, cold water systems. However, toxaphene concentrations were lower in lake trout from Siskiwit Lake and lakes in northwestern Ontario than in Lake Superior possibly because of shorter food chains and greater reliance on zooplankton or

  17. Transient dynamics and food-web complexity in the Lotka-Volterra cascade model.

    PubMed

    Chen, X; Cohen, J E

    2001-04-22

    How does the long-term behaviour near equilibrium of model food webs correlate with their short-term transient dynamics? Here, simulations of the Lotka -Volterra cascade model of food webs provide the first evidence to answer this question. Transient behaviour is measured by resilience, reactivity, the maximum amplification of a perturbation and the time at which the maximum amplification occurs. Model food webs with a higher probability of local asymptotic stability may be less resilient and may have a larger transient growth of perturbations. Given a fixed connectance, the sizes and durations of transient responses to perturbations increase with the number of species. Given a fixed number of species, as connectance increases, the sizes and durations of transient responses to perturbations may increase or decrease depending on the type of link that is varied. Reactivity is more sensitive to changes in the number of donor-controlled links than to changes in the number of recipient-controlled links, while resilience is more sensitive to changes in the number of recipient-controlled links than to changes in the number of donor-controlled links. Transient behaviour is likely to be one of the important factors affecting the persistence of ecological communities.

  18. Food web structure in oil sands reclaimed wetlands.

    PubMed

    Kovalenko, K E; Ciborowski, J J H; Daly, C; Dixon, D G; Farwell, A J; Foote, A L; Frederick, K R; Costa, J M Gardner; Kennedy, K; Liber, K; Roy, M C; Slama, C A; Smits, J E G

    2013-07-01

    Boreal wetlands play an important role in global carbon balance. However, their ecosystem function is threatened by direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Oil sands surface mining in the boreal regions of Western Canada denudes tracts of land of organic materials, leaves large areas in need of reclamation, and generates considerable quantities of extraction process-affected materials. Knowledge and validation of reclamation techniques that lead to self-sustaining wetlands has lagged behind development of protocols for reclaiming terrestrial systems. It is important to know whether wetlands reclaimed with oil sands process materials can be restored to levels equivalent to their original ecosystem function. We approached this question by assessing carbon flows and food web structure in naturally formed and oil sands-affected wetlands constructed in 1970-2004 in the postmining landscape. We evaluated whether a prescribed reclamation strategy, involving organic matter amendment, accelerated reclaimed wetland development, leading to wetlands that were more similar to their natural marsh counterparts than wetlands that were not supplemented with organic matter. We measured compartment standing stocks for bacterioplankton, microbial biofilm, macrophytes, detritus, and zoobenthos; concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and residual naphthenic acids; and microbial production, gas fluxes, and aquatic-terrestrial exports (i.e., aquatic insect emergence). The total biomass of several biotic compartments differed significantly between oil sands and reference wetlands. Submerged macrophyte biomass, macroinvertebrate trophic diversity, and predator biomass and richness were lower in oil sands-affected wetlands than in reference wetlands. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that wetland age and wetland amendment with peat-mineral mix mitigate effects of oil sands waste materials on the fully aquatic biota. Although high variability was observed within

  19. Road Salts as Environmental Constraints in Urban Pond Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Van Meter, Robin J.; Swan, Christopher M.

    2014-01-01

    Freshwater salinization is an emerging environmental filter in urban aquatic ecosystems that receive chloride road salt runoff from vast expanses of impervious surface cover. Our study was designed to evaluate the effects of chloride contamination on urban stormwater pond food webs through changes in zooplankton community composition as well as density and biomass of primary producers and consumers. From May – July 2009, we employed a 2×2×2 full-factorial design to manipulate chloride concentration (low = 177 mg L−1 Cl−/high = 1067 mg L−1 Cl−), gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles (presence/absence) and source of stormwater pond algae and zooplankton inoculum (low conductance/high conductance urban ponds) in 40, 600-L mesocosms. Road salt did serve as a constraint on zooplankton community structure, driving community divergence between the low and high chloride treatments. Phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll [a] µg L−1) in the mesocosms was significantly greater for the high conductance inoculum (P<0.001) and in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.046), whereas periphyton biomass was significantly lower in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.049). Gray treefrog tadpole time to metamorphosis did not vary significantly between treatments. However, mass at metamorphosis was greater among tadpoles that experienced a faster than average time to metamorphosis and exposure to high chloride concentrations (P = 0.039). Our results indicate differential susceptibility to chloride salts among algal resources and zooplankton taxa, and further suggest that road salts can act as a significant environmental constraint on urban stormwater pond communities. PMID:24587259

  20. Food web structure in oil sands reclaimed wetlands.

    PubMed

    Kovalenko, K E; Ciborowski, J J H; Daly, C; Dixon, D G; Farwell, A J; Foote, A L; Frederick, K R; Costa, J M Gardner; Kennedy, K; Liber, K; Roy, M C; Slama, C A; Smits, J E G

    2013-07-01

    Boreal wetlands play an important role in global carbon balance. However, their ecosystem function is threatened by direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Oil sands surface mining in the boreal regions of Western Canada denudes tracts of land of organic materials, leaves large areas in need of reclamation, and generates considerable quantities of extraction process-affected materials. Knowledge and validation of reclamation techniques that lead to self-sustaining wetlands has lagged behind development of protocols for reclaiming terrestrial systems. It is important to know whether wetlands reclaimed with oil sands process materials can be restored to levels equivalent to their original ecosystem function. We approached this question by assessing carbon flows and food web structure in naturally formed and oil sands-affected wetlands constructed in 1970-2004 in the postmining landscape. We evaluated whether a prescribed reclamation strategy, involving organic matter amendment, accelerated reclaimed wetland development, leading to wetlands that were more similar to their natural marsh counterparts than wetlands that were not supplemented with organic matter. We measured compartment standing stocks for bacterioplankton, microbial biofilm, macrophytes, detritus, and zoobenthos; concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and residual naphthenic acids; and microbial production, gas fluxes, and aquatic-terrestrial exports (i.e., aquatic insect emergence). The total biomass of several biotic compartments differed significantly between oil sands and reference wetlands. Submerged macrophyte biomass, macroinvertebrate trophic diversity, and predator biomass and richness were lower in oil sands-affected wetlands than in reference wetlands. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that wetland age and wetland amendment with peat-mineral mix mitigate effects of oil sands waste materials on the fully aquatic biota. Although high variability was observed within

  1. Evolutionary conservation of species' roles in food webs.

    PubMed

    Stouffer, Daniel B; Sales-Pardo, Marta; Sirer, M Irmak; Bascompte, Jordi

    2012-03-23

    Studies of ecological networks (the web of interactions between species in a community) demonstrate an intricate link between a community's structure and its long-term viability. It remains unclear, however, how much a community's persistence depends on the identities of the species present, or how much the role played by each species varies as a function of the community in which it is found. We measured species' roles by studying how species are embedded within the overall network and the subsequent dynamic implications. Using data from 32 empirical food webs, we find that species' roles and dynamic importance are inherent species attributes and can be extrapolated across communities on the basis of taxonomic classification alone. Our results illustrate the variability of roles across species and communities and the relative importance of distinct species groups when attempting to conserve ecological communities.

  2. Primary production, sinking fluxes and the microbial food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michaels, Anthony F.; Silver, Mary W.

    1988-04-01

    The size distribution of pelagic producers and the size and trophic position of consumers determine the composition and magnitude of sinking fluxes from the surface communities in a simple model of oceanic food webs. Picoplankton, the dominant producers in the model, contribute little to the sinking material, due primarily to the large number of trophic steps between picoplankton and the consumers that produce the sinking particles. Net phytoplankton are important contributors to the sinking materials, despite accounting for a small fraction of the total primary production. These net phytoplankton, especially those capable of nitrogen fixation, also dominate the fraction of the new production that is exported on its first pass through the food chain. The sinking flux is strongly determined by the community structure of the consumers and varies by an order of magnitude for different food webs. The model indicates that generalist grazers, zooplankton that consume a broad size spectrum of prey (including pico-and nanoplankton), play a critical role in exporting particles. The role of generalists that occasionally form swarms, such as thaliaceans (salps and doliolids), can be particularly difficult to assess. Short-term studies probably miss the relatively infrequent population blooms of these grazers, events that could control the average, long-term exports from surface oceanic communities.

  3. Temporal variation in regulation of production in a pelagic food web model

    SciTech Connect

    Bartell, S.M.; Brenkert, A.L.; O'Neill, R.V.; Gardner, R.H.

    1987-01-01

    We examined the implications of differential resource use and predator-prey relations in a seasonal environment, formalized as a pelagic food web model, on temporal changes in the relative importance of bottom-up and top-down structuring of the phytoplankton. Detailed analyses of the model's behavior were used to identify periods when control of production shifted from interspecific interactions among the phytoplankton to cascading trophic interactions.

  4. Reducing methylmercury accumulation in the food webs of San Francisco Bay and its local watersheds.

    PubMed

    Davis, J A; Looker, R E; Yee, D; Marvin-Di Pasquale, M; Grenier, J L; Austin, C M; McKee, L J; Greenfield, B K; Brodberg, R; Blum, J D

    2012-11-01

    from urban runoff. Atmospheric deposition is a lower priority for source control in the Bay Area due to a combination of a lack of major local sources. Internal net production of MeHg is the dominant source of MeHg that enters the food web. Controlling internal net production is the second primary management approach, and has the potential to reduce food web MeHg in some habitats more effectively and within a much shorter time-frame. Controlling net MeHg production and accumulation in the food web of upstream reservoirs and ponds is very promising due to the many features of these ecosystems that can be manipulated. The most feasible control options in tidal marshes relate to the design of flow patterns and subhabitats in restoration projects. Options for controlling MeHg production in open Bay habitat are limited due primarily to the highly dispersed distribution of Hg throughout the ecosystem. Other changes in these habitats may also have a large influence on food web MeHg, including temperature changes due to global warming, sea level rise, food web alterations due to introduced species and other causes, and changes in sediment supply. Other options for reducing or mitigating exposure and risk include controlling bioaccumulation, cleanup of contaminated sites, and reducing other factors (e.g., habitat availability) that limit at-risk wildlife populations.

  5. Reducing methylmercury accumulation in the food webs of San Francisco Bay and its local watersheds

    SciTech Connect

    Davis, J.A.; Looker, R.E.; Yee, D.; Marvin-Di Pasquale, M.; Austin, C.M.; McKee, L.J.; Greenfield, B.K.; Brodberg, R.; Blum, J.D.

    2012-11-15

    from urban runoff. Atmospheric deposition is a lower priority for source control in the Bay Area due to a combination of a lack of major local sources. Internal net production of MeHg is the dominant source of MeHg that enters the food web. Controlling internal net production is the second primary management approach, and has the potential to reduce food web MeHg in some habitats more effectively and within a much shorter time-frame. Controlling net MeHg production and accumulation in the food web of upstream reservoirs and ponds is very promising due to the many features of these ecosystems that can be manipulated. The most feasible control options in tidal marshes relate to the design of flow patterns and subhabitats in restoration projects. Options for controlling MeHg production in open Bay habitat are limited due primarily to the highly dispersed distribution of Hg throughout the ecosystem. Other changes in these habitats may also have a large influence on food web MeHg, including temperature changes due to global warming, sea level rise, food web alterations due to introduced species and other causes, and changes in sediment supply. Other options for reducing or mitigating exposure and risk include controlling bioaccumulation, cleanup of contaminated sites, and reducing other factors (e.g., habitat availability) that limit at-risk wildlife populations.

  6. Reducing methylmercury accumulation in the food webs of San Francisco Bay and its local watersheds.

    PubMed

    Davis, J A; Looker, R E; Yee, D; Marvin-Di Pasquale, M; Grenier, J L; Austin, C M; McKee, L J; Greenfield, B K; Brodberg, R; Blum, J D

    2012-11-01

    from urban runoff. Atmospheric deposition is a lower priority for source control in the Bay Area due to a combination of a lack of major local sources. Internal net production of MeHg is the dominant source of MeHg that enters the food web. Controlling internal net production is the second primary management approach, and has the potential to reduce food web MeHg in some habitats more effectively and within a much shorter time-frame. Controlling net MeHg production and accumulation in the food web of upstream reservoirs and ponds is very promising due to the many features of these ecosystems that can be manipulated. The most feasible control options in tidal marshes relate to the design of flow patterns and subhabitats in restoration projects. Options for controlling MeHg production in open Bay habitat are limited due primarily to the highly dispersed distribution of Hg throughout the ecosystem. Other changes in these habitats may also have a large influence on food web MeHg, including temperature changes due to global warming, sea level rise, food web alterations due to introduced species and other causes, and changes in sediment supply. Other options for reducing or mitigating exposure and risk include controlling bioaccumulation, cleanup of contaminated sites, and reducing other factors (e.g., habitat availability) that limit at-risk wildlife populations. PMID:23122771

  7. Nutrient subsidies to belowground microbes impact aboveground food web interactions.

    PubMed

    Hines, Jes; Megonigal, J Patrick; Denno, Robert F

    2006-06-01

    Historically, terrestrial food web theory has been compartmentalized into interactions among aboveground or belowground communities. In this study we took a more synthetic approach to understanding food web interactions by simultaneously examining four trophic levels and investigating how nutrient (nitrogen and carbon) and detrital subsidies impact the ability of the belowground microbial community to alter the abundance of aboveground arthropods (herbivores and predators) associated with the intertidal cord grass Spartina alterniflora. We manipulated carbon, nitrogen, and detrital resources in a field experiment and measured decomposition rate, soil nitrogen pools, plant biomass and quality, herbivore density, and arthropod predator abundance. Because carbon subsidies impact plant growth only indirectly (microbial pathways), whereas nitrogen additions both directly (plant uptake) and indirectly (microbial pathways) impact plant primary productivity, we were able to assess the effect of both belowground soil microbes and nutrient availability on aboveground herbivores and their predators. Herbivore density in the field was suppressed by carbon supplements. Carbon addition altered soil microbial dynamics (net potential ammonification, litter decomposition rate, DON [dissolved organic N] concentration), which limited inorganic soil nitrogen availability and reduced plant size as well as predator abundance. Nitrogen addition enhanced herbivore density by increasing plant size and quality directly by increasing inorganic soil nitrogen pools, and indirectly by enhancing microbial nitrification. Detritus adversely affected aboveground herbivores mainly by promoting predator aggregation. To date, the effects of carbon and nitrogen subsidies on salt marshes have been examined as isolated effects on either the aboveground or the belowground community. Our results emphasize the importance of directly addressing the soil microbial community as a factor that influences

  8. River Food Web Response to Large-Scale Riparian Zone Manipulations

    PubMed Central

    Wootton, J. Timothy

    2012-01-01

    Conservation programs often focus on select species, leading to management plans based on the autecology of the focal species, but multiple ecosystem components can be affected both by the environmental factors impacting, and the management targeting, focal species. These broader effects can have indirect impacts on target species through the web of interactions within ecosystems. For example, human activity can strongly alter riparian vegetation, potentially impacting both economically-important salmonids and their associated river food web. In an Olympic Peninsula river, Washington state, USA, replicated large-scale riparian vegetation manipulations implemented with the long-term (>40 yr) goal of improving salmon habitat did not affect water temperature, nutrient limitation or habitat characteristics, but reduced canopy cover, causing reduced energy input via leaf litter, increased incident solar radiation (UV and PAR) and increased algal production compared to controls. In response, benthic algae, most insect taxa, and juvenile salmonids increased in manipulated areas. Stable isotope analysis revealed a predominant contribution of algal-derived energy to salmonid diets in manipulated reaches. The experiment demonstrates that riparian management targeting salmonids strongly affects river food webs via changes in the energy base, illustrates how species-based management strategies can have unanticipated indirect effects on the target species via the associated food web, and supports ecosystem-based management approaches for restoring depleted salmonid stocks. PMID:23284786

  9. River food web response to large-scale riparian zone manipulations.

    PubMed

    Wootton, J Timothy

    2012-01-01

    Conservation programs often focus on select species, leading to management plans based on the autecology of the focal species, but multiple ecosystem components can be affected both by the environmental factors impacting, and the management targeting, focal species. These broader effects can have indirect impacts on target species through the web of interactions within ecosystems. For example, human activity can strongly alter riparian vegetation, potentially impacting both economically-important salmonids and their associated river food web. In an Olympic Peninsula river, Washington state, USA, replicated large-scale riparian vegetation manipulations implemented with the long-term (>40 yr) goal of improving salmon habitat did not affect water temperature, nutrient limitation or habitat characteristics, but reduced canopy cover, causing reduced energy input via leaf litter, increased incident solar radiation (UV and PAR) and increased algal production compared to controls. In response, benthic algae, most insect taxa, and juvenile salmonids increased in manipulated areas. Stable isotope analysis revealed a predominant contribution of algal-derived energy to salmonid diets in manipulated reaches. The experiment demonstrates that riparian management targeting salmonids strongly affects river food webs via changes in the energy base, illustrates how species-based management strategies can have unanticipated indirect effects on the target species via the associated food web, and supports ecosystem-based management approaches for restoring depleted salmonid stocks.

  10. River food web response to large-scale riparian zone manipulations.

    PubMed

    Wootton, J Timothy

    2012-01-01

    Conservation programs often focus on select species, leading to management plans based on the autecology of the focal species, but multiple ecosystem components can be affected both by the environmental factors impacting, and the management targeting, focal species. These broader effects can have indirect impacts on target species through the web of interactions within ecosystems. For example, human activity can strongly alter riparian vegetation, potentially impacting both economically-important salmonids and their associated river food web. In an Olympic Peninsula river, Washington state, USA, replicated large-scale riparian vegetation manipulations implemented with the long-term (>40 yr) goal of improving salmon habitat did not affect water temperature, nutrient limitation or habitat characteristics, but reduced canopy cover, causing reduced energy input via leaf litter, increased incident solar radiation (UV and PAR) and increased algal production compared to controls. In response, benthic algae, most insect taxa, and juvenile salmonids increased in manipulated areas. Stable isotope analysis revealed a predominant contribution of algal-derived energy to salmonid diets in manipulated reaches. The experiment demonstrates that riparian management targeting salmonids strongly affects river food webs via changes in the energy base, illustrates how species-based management strategies can have unanticipated indirect effects on the target species via the associated food web, and supports ecosystem-based management approaches for restoring depleted salmonid stocks. PMID:23284786

  11. Trophic structure, stability, and parasite persistence threshold in food webs.

    PubMed

    McQuaid, C Finn; Britton, Nicholas F

    2013-11-01

    Food web structure of free-living species is an important determinant of parasite species richness. Downwardly asymmetric predator-prey interactions (where there are more prey than predator species) have been shown, both theoretically and empirically, to harbour more trophically transmitted parasite species than expected due to chance. Here, we demonstrate that this could be due to the increase in the basic reproductive ratio that the addition of non-host prey species to a system creates. However, we note that the basic reproductive ratio is only increased by those prey that stabilise oscillations in a predator-prey system, and is decreased by those that do not. PMID:23943365

  12. Food-web based unified model of macro- and microevolution.

    PubMed

    Chowdhury, Debashish; Stauffer, Dietrich

    2003-10-01

    We incorporate the generic hierarchical architecture of foodwebs into a "unified" model that describes both micro- and macroevolutions within a single theoretical framework. This model describes the microevolution in detail by accounting for the birth, ageing, and natural death of individual organisms as well as prey-predator interactions on a hierarchical dynamic food web. It also provides a natural description of random mutations and speciation (origination) of species as well as their extinctions. The distribution of lifetimes of species follows an approximate power law only over a limited regime.

  13. Web Page Change and Persistence-A Four-Year Longitudinal Study.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Koehler, Wallace

    2002-01-01

    Discussion of changes in the topography of the Web focuses on changes to an existing set of Web documents over a four-year period. Highlights include the life cycle of Web objects; changes to Web objects; measures of change; Web page demise; and Web page changes, including hypertext links, content change, and structural change. (LRW)

  14. Longer and less overlapping food webs in anthropogenically disturbed marine ecosystems: confirmations from the past.

    PubMed

    Saporiti, Fabiana; Bearhop, Stuart; Silva, Laura; Vales, Damián G; Zenteno, Lisette; Crespo, Enrique A; Aguilar, Alex; Cardona, Luis

    2014-01-01

    The human exploitation of marine resources is characterised by the preferential removal of the largest species. Although this is expected to modify the structure of food webs, we have a relatively poor understanding of the potential consequences of such alteration. Here, we take advantage of a collection of ancient consumer tissues, using stable isotope analysis and SIBER to assess changes in the structure of coastal marine food webs in the South-western Atlantic through the second half of the Holocene as a result of the sequential exploitation of marine resources by hunter-gatherers, western sealers and modern fishermen. Samples were collected from shell middens and museums. Shells of both modern and archaeological intertidal herbivorous molluscs were used to reconstruct changes in the stable isotopic baseline, while modern and archaeological bones of the South American sea lion Otaria flavescens, South American fur seal Arctocephalus australis and Magellanic penguin Spheniscus magellanicus were used to analyse changes in the structure of the community of top predators. We found that ancient food webs were shorter, more redundant and more overlapping than current ones, both in northern-central Patagonia and southern Patagonia. These surprising results may be best explained by the huge impact of western sealing on pinnipeds during the fur trade period, rather than the impact of fishing on fish populations. As a consequence, the populations of pinnipeds at the end of the sealing period were likely well below the ecosystem's carrying capacity, which resulted in a release of intraspecific competition and a shift towards larger and higher trophic level prey. This in turn led to longer and less overlapping food webs.

  15. Longer and Less Overlapping Food Webs in Anthropogenically Disturbed Marine Ecosystems: Confirmations from the Past

    PubMed Central

    Saporiti, Fabiana; Bearhop, Stuart; Silva, Laura; Vales, Damián G.; Zenteno, Lisette; Crespo, Enrique A.; Aguilar, Alex; Cardona, Luis

    2014-01-01

    The human exploitation of marine resources is characterised by the preferential removal of the largest species. Although this is expected to modify the structure of food webs, we have a relatively poor understanding of the potential consequences of such alteration. Here, we take advantage of a collection of ancient consumer tissues, using stable isotope analysis and SIBER to assess changes in the structure of coastal marine food webs in the South-western Atlantic through the second half of the Holocene as a result of the sequential exploitation of marine resources by hunter-gatherers, western sealers and modern fishermen. Samples were collected from shell middens and museums. Shells of both modern and archaeological intertidal herbivorous molluscs were used to reconstruct changes in the stable isotopic baseline, while modern and archaeological bones of the South American sea lion Otaria flavescens, South American fur seal Arctocephalus australis and Magellanic penguin Spheniscus magellanicus were used to analyse changes in the structure of the community of top predators. We found that ancient food webs were shorter, more redundant and more overlapping than current ones, both in northern-central Patagonia and southern Patagonia. These surprising results may be best explained by the huge impact of western sealing on pinnipeds during the fur trade period, rather than the impact of fishing on fish populations. As a consequence, the populations of pinnipeds at the end of the sealing period were likely well below the ecosystem's carrying capacity, which resulted in a release of intraspecific competition and a shift towards larger and higher trophic level prey. This in turn led to longer and less overlapping food webs. PMID:25076042

  16. Longer and less overlapping food webs in anthropogenically disturbed marine ecosystems: confirmations from the past.

    PubMed

    Saporiti, Fabiana; Bearhop, Stuart; Silva, Laura; Vales, Damián G; Zenteno, Lisette; Crespo, Enrique A; Aguilar, Alex; Cardona, Luis

    2014-01-01

    The human exploitation of marine resources is characterised by the preferential removal of the largest species. Although this is expected to modify the structure of food webs, we have a relatively poor understanding of the potential consequences of such alteration. Here, we take advantage of a collection of ancient consumer tissues, using stable isotope analysis and SIBER to assess changes in the structure of coastal marine food webs in the South-western Atlantic through the second half of the Holocene as a result of the sequential exploitation of marine resources by hunter-gatherers, western sealers and modern fishermen. Samples were collected from shell middens and museums. Shells of both modern and archaeological intertidal herbivorous molluscs were used to reconstruct changes in the stable isotopic baseline, while modern and archaeological bones of the South American sea lion Otaria flavescens, South American fur seal Arctocephalus australis and Magellanic penguin Spheniscus magellanicus were used to analyse changes in the structure of the community of top predators. We found that ancient food webs were shorter, more redundant and more overlapping than current ones, both in northern-central Patagonia and southern Patagonia. These surprising results may be best explained by the huge impact of western sealing on pinnipeds during the fur trade period, rather than the impact of fishing on fish populations. As a consequence, the populations of pinnipeds at the end of the sealing period were likely well below the ecosystem's carrying capacity, which resulted in a release of intraspecific competition and a shift towards larger and higher trophic level prey. This in turn led to longer and less overlapping food webs. PMID:25076042

  17. Food-web complexity, meta-community complexity and community stability

    PubMed Central

    Mougi, A.; Kondoh, M.

    2016-01-01

    What allows interacting, diverse species to coexist in nature has been a central question in ecology, ever since the theoretical prediction that a complex community should be inherently unstable. Although the role of spatiality in species coexistence has been recognized, its application to more complex systems has been less explored. Here, using a meta-community model of food web, we show that meta-community complexity, measured by the number of local food webs and their connectedness, elicits a self-regulating, negative-feedback mechanism and thus stabilizes food-web dynamics. Moreover, the presence of meta-community complexity can give rise to a positive food-web complexity-stability effect. Spatiality may play a more important role in stabilizing dynamics of complex, real food webs than expected from ecological theory based on the models of simpler food webs. PMID:27071716

  18. Moving up the information food chain: Deploying softbots on the World Wide Web

    SciTech Connect

    Etzioni, O.

    1996-12-31

    I view the World Wide Web as an information food chain. The maze of pages and hyperlinks that comprise the Web are at the very bottom of the chain. The WebCrawlers and Alta Vistas of the world are information herbivores; they graze on Web pages and regurgitate them as searchable indices. Today, most Web users feed near the bottom of the information food chain, but the time is ripe to move up. Since 1991, we have been building information carnivores, which intelligently hunt and feast on herbivores in Unix, on the Internet, and on the Web.

  19. Impacts of elevated terrestrial nutrient loads and temperature on pelagic food-web efficiency and fish production.

    PubMed

    Lefébure, R; Degerman, R; Andersson, A; Larsson, S; Eriksson, L-O; Båmstedt, U; Byström, P

    2013-05-01

    Both temperature and terrestrial organic matter have strong impacts on aquatic food-web dynamics and production. Temperature affects vital rates of all organisms, and terrestrial organic matter can act both as an energy source for lower trophic levels, while simultaneously reducing light availability for autotrophic production. As climate change predictions for the Baltic Sea and elsewhere suggest increases in both terrestrial matter runoff and increases in temperature, we studied the effects on pelagic food-web dynamics and food-web efficiency in a plausible future scenario with respect to these abiotic variables in a large-scale mesocosm experiment. Total basal (phytoplankton plus bacterial) production was slightly reduced when only increasing temperatures, but was otherwise similar across all other treatments. Separate increases in nutrient loads and temperature decreased the ratio of autotrophic:heterotrophic production, but the combined treatment of elevated temperature and terrestrial nutrient loads increased both fish production and food-web efficiency. CDOM: Chl a ratios strongly indicated that terrestrial and not autotrophic carbon was the main energy source in these food webs and our results also showed that zooplankton biomass was positively correlated with increased bacterial production. Concomitantly, biomass of the dominant calanoid copepod Acartia sp. increased as an effect of increased temperature. As the combined effects of increased temperature and terrestrial organic nutrient loads were required to increase zooplankton abundance and fish production, conclusions about effects of climate change on food-web dynamics and fish production must be based on realistic combinations of several abiotic factors. Moreover, our results question established notions on the net inefficiency of heterotrophic carbon transfer to the top of the food web.

  20. Non-deterministic modelling of food-web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Planque, Benjamin; Lindstrøm, Ulf; Subbey, Sam

    2014-01-01

    A novel approach to model food-web dynamics, based on a combination of chance (randomness) and necessity (system constraints), was presented by Mullon et al. in 2009. Based on simulations for the Benguela ecosystem, they concluded that observed patterns of ecosystem variability may simply result from basic structural constraints within which the ecosystem functions. To date, and despite the importance of these conclusions, this work has received little attention. The objective of the present paper is to replicate this original model and evaluate the conclusions that were derived from its simulations. For this purpose, we revisit the equations and input parameters that form the structure of the original model and implement a comparable simulation model. We restate the model principles and provide a detailed account of the model structure, equations, and parameters. Our model can reproduce several ecosystem dynamic patterns: pseudo-cycles, variation and volatility, diet, stock-recruitment relationships, and correlations between species biomass series. The original conclusions are supported to a large extent by the current replication of the model. Model parameterisation and computational aspects remain difficult and these need to be investigated further. Hopefully, the present contribution will make this approach available to a larger research community and will promote the use of non-deterministic-network-dynamics models as 'null models of food-webs' as originally advocated. PMID:25299245

  1. Biomagnification of polychlorinated biphenyls through a riverine food web

    SciTech Connect

    Zaranko, D.T.; Kaushik, N.K.; Griffiths, R.W.

    1997-07-01

    From 1989 to 1993, biota collected from Pottersburg Creek, London, ON, Canada were analyzed for total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and lipids. Data were analyzed by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with lipid as the covariate, to investigate station, time, and trophic effects on PCB accumulation in aquatic organisms. All three variables were highly significant. PCB concentrations in biota decreased along the length of the creek away from the point source. PCB concentrations in biota collected in July 1993 were not significantly different from concentrations in biota collected in July 1990, suggesting that sources into the creek have not been alleviated. The relationship between PCBs and lipid for biota from Pottersburg Creek suggests that organisms accumulate PCBs relative to their position in the food web. Fish and leeches occupying the top of the food web accumulated more PCBs than organisms occupying a lower trophic position (crayfish and oligochaetes/chironomids), indicating that biomagnification through trophic transfer (i.e., the uptake of a chemical through ingestion) is the primary mechanism governing contaminant levels in biota and not bioconcentration (i.e, the uptake of a chemical from water).

  2. Biotransport of Algal Toxins to Riparian Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Moy, Nicholas J; Dodson, Jenna; Tassone, Spencer J; Bukaveckas, Paul A; Bulluck, Lesley P

    2016-09-20

    The occurrence of harmful algal blooms has resulted in growing worldwide concern about threats to aquatic life and human health. Microcystin (MC), a cyanotoxin, is the most widely reported algal toxin in freshwaters. Prior studies have documented its presence in aquatic food webs including commercially important fish and shellfish. In this paper we present the first evidence that algal toxins propagate into riparian food webs. We show that MC is present in emerging aquatic insects (Hexagenia mayflies) from the James River Estuary and their consumers (Tetragnathidae spiders and Prothonotary Warblers, Protonotaria citrea). MC levels in Prothonotary Warblers varied by age class, with nestlings having the highest levels. At the site where nestlings received a higher proportion of aquatic prey (i.e., mayflies) in their diet, we observed higher MC concentrations in liver tissue and fecal matter. Warbler body condition and growth rate were not related to liver MC levels, suggesting that aquatic prey may provide dietary benefits that offset potential deleterious effects of the toxin. This study provides evidence that threats posed by algal toxins extend beyond the aquatic environments in which blooms occur.

  3. Application of information theory methods to food web reconstruction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moniz, L.J.; Cooch, E.G.; Ellner, S.P.; Nichols, J.D.; Nichols, J.M.

    2007-01-01

    In this paper we use information theory techniques on time series of abundances to determine the topology of a food web. At the outset, the food web participants (two consumers, two resources) are known; in addition we know that each consumer prefers one of the resources over the other. However, we do not know which consumer prefers which resource, and if this preference is absolute (i.e., whether or not the consumer will consume the non-preferred resource). Although the consumers and resources are identified at the beginning of the experiment, we also provide evidence that the consumers are not resources for each other, and the resources do not consume each other. We do show that there is significant mutual information between resources; the model is seasonally forced and some shared information between resources is expected. Similarly, because the model is seasonally forced, we expect shared information between consumers as they respond to the forcing of the resources. The model that we consider does include noise, and in an effort to demonstrate that these methods may be of some use in other than model data, we show the efficacy of our methods with decreasing time series size; in this particular case we obtain reasonably clear results with a time series length of 400 points. This approaches ecological time series lengths from real systems.

  4. Significance of predation by protists in aquatic microbial food webs.

    PubMed

    Sherr, Evelyn B; Sherr, Barry F

    2002-08-01

    Predation in aquatic microbial food webs is dominated by phagotrophic protists, yet these microorganisms are still understudied compared to bacteria and phytoplankton. In pelagic ecosystems, predaceous protists are ubiquitous, range in size from 2 gm flagellates to > 100 microm ciliates and dinoflagellates, and exhibit a wide array of feeding strategies. Their trophic states run the gamut from strictly phagotrophic, to mixotrophic: partly autotrophic and partly phagotrophic, to primarily autotrophic but capable of phagotrophy. Protists are a major source of mortality for both heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria. They compete with herbivorous meso- and macro-zooplankton for all size classes of phytoplankton. Protist grazing may affect the rate of organic sinking flux from the euphotic zone. Protist excretions are an important source of remineralized nutrients, and of colloidal and dissolved trace metals such as iron, in aquatic systems. Work on predation by protists is being facilitated by methodological advances, e.g., molecular genetic analysis of protistan diversity and application of flow cytometry to study population growth and feeding rates. Examples of new research areas are studies of impact of protistan predation on the community structure of prey assemblages and of chemical communication between predator and prey in microbial food webs.

  5. Biotransport of Algal Toxins to Riparian Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Moy, Nicholas J; Dodson, Jenna; Tassone, Spencer J; Bukaveckas, Paul A; Bulluck, Lesley P

    2016-09-20

    The occurrence of harmful algal blooms has resulted in growing worldwide concern about threats to aquatic life and human health. Microcystin (MC), a cyanotoxin, is the most widely reported algal toxin in freshwaters. Prior studies have documented its presence in aquatic food webs including commercially important fish and shellfish. In this paper we present the first evidence that algal toxins propagate into riparian food webs. We show that MC is present in emerging aquatic insects (Hexagenia mayflies) from the James River Estuary and their consumers (Tetragnathidae spiders and Prothonotary Warblers, Protonotaria citrea). MC levels in Prothonotary Warblers varied by age class, with nestlings having the highest levels. At the site where nestlings received a higher proportion of aquatic prey (i.e., mayflies) in their diet, we observed higher MC concentrations in liver tissue and fecal matter. Warbler body condition and growth rate were not related to liver MC levels, suggesting that aquatic prey may provide dietary benefits that offset potential deleterious effects of the toxin. This study provides evidence that threats posed by algal toxins extend beyond the aquatic environments in which blooms occur. PMID:27552323

  6. Experimental warming transforms multiple predator effects in a grassland food web.

    PubMed

    Barton, Brandon T; Schmitz, Oswald J

    2009-12-01

    This experimental study tests new theory for multiple predator effects on communities by using warming to alter predator habitat use and hence direct and indirect interactions in a grassland food web containing two dominant spider predator species, a dominant grasshopper herbivore and grass and herb plants. Experimental warming further offers insight into how climate change might alter direct and indirect effects. Under ambient environmental conditions, spiders used habitat in spatially complementary locations. Consistent with predictions, the multiple predator effect on grasshoppers and on plants was the average of the individual predator effects. Warming strengthened the single predator effects. It also caused the spider species to overlap lower in the vegetation canopy. Consistent with predictions, the system was transformed into an intraguild predation system with the consequent extinction of one spider species. The results portend climate caused loss of predator diversity with important consequences for food web structure and function. PMID:19780788

  7. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons alter the structure of oceanic and oligotrophic microbial food webs.

    PubMed

    Cerezo, Maria Isabel; Agusti, Susana

    2015-12-30

    One way organic pollutants reach remote oceanic regions is by atmospheric transport. During the Malaspina-2010 expedition, across the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, we analyzed the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) effects on oceanic microbial food webs. We performed perturbation experiments adding PAHs to classic dilution experiments. The phytoplankton growth rates were reduced by more than 5 times, being Prochlorococcus spp. the most affected. 62% of the experiments showed a reduction in the grazing rates due to the presence of PAHs. For the remaining experiments, grazing usually increased likely due to cascading effects. We identified changes in the slope of the relation between the growth rate and the dilution fraction induced by the pollutants, moving from no grazing to V-shape, or to negative slope, indicative of grazing increase by cascade effects and alterations of the grazers' activity structure. Our perturbation experiments indicate that PAHs could influence the structure oceanic food-webs structure.

  8. Mercury bioaccumulation and trophic transfer in the terrestrial food web of a montane forest.

    PubMed

    Rimmer, Christopher C; Miller, Eric K; McFarland, Kent P; Taylor, Robert J; Faccio, Steven D

    2010-04-01

    We investigated mercury (Hg) concentrations in a terrestrial food web in high elevation forests in Vermont. Hg concentrations increased from autotrophic organisms to herbivores < detritivores < omnivores < carnivores. Within the carnivores studied, raptors had higher blood Hg concentrations than their songbird prey. The Hg concentration in the blood of the focal study species, Bicknell's thrush (Catharus bicknelli), varied over the course of the summer in response to a diet shift related to changing availability of arthropod prey. The Bicknell's thrush food web is more detrital-based (with higher Hg concentrations) in early summer and more foliage-based (with lower Hg concentrations) during late summer. There were significant year effects in different ecosystem compartments indicating a possible connection between atmospheric Hg deposition, detrital-layer Hg concentrations, arthropod Hg concentrations, and passerine blood Hg concentrations.

  9. Nitrogen Addition and Warming Independently Influence the Belowground Micro-Food Web in a Temperate Steppe

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qi; Bai, Huahua; Liang, Wenju; Xia, Jianyang; Wan, Shiqiang; van der Putten, Wim H.

    2013-01-01

    Climate warming and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition are known to influence ecosystem structure and functioning. However, our understanding of the interactive effect of these global changes on ecosystem functioning is relatively limited, especially when it concerns the responses of soils and soil organisms. We conducted a field experiment to study the interactive effects of warming and N addition on soil food web. The experiment was established in 2006 in a temperate steppe in northern China. After three to four years (2009–2010), we found that N addition positively affected microbial biomass and negatively influenced trophic group and ecological indices of soil nematodes. However, the warming effects were less obvious, only fungal PLFA showed a decreasing trend under warming. Interestingly, the influence of N addition did not depend on warming. Structural equation modeling analysis suggested that the direct pathway between N addition and soil food web components were more important than the indirect connections through alterations in soil abiotic characters or plant growth. Nitrogen enrichment also affected the soil nematode community indirectly through changes in soil pH and PLFA. We conclude that experimental warming influenced soil food web components of the temperate steppe less than N addition, and there was little influence of warming on N addition effects under these experimental conditions. PMID:23544140

  10. Habitat modification alters the structure of tropical host-parasitoid food webs.

    PubMed

    Tylianakis, Jason M; Tscharntke, Teja; Lewis, Owen T

    2007-01-11

    Global conversion of natural habitats to agriculture has led to marked changes in species diversity and composition. However, it is less clear how habitat modification affects interactions among species. Networks of feeding interactions (food webs) describe the underlying structure of ecological communities, and might be crucially linked to their stability and function. Here, we analyse 48 quantitative food webs for cavity-nesting bees, wasps and their parasitoids across five tropical habitat types. We found marked changes in food-web structure across the modification gradient, despite little variation in species richness. The evenness of interaction frequencies declined with habitat modification, with most energy flowing along one or a few pathways in intensively managed agricultural habitats. In modified habitats there was a higher ratio of parasitoid to host species and increased parasitism rates, with implications for the important ecosystem services, such as pollination and biological control, that are performed by host bees and wasps. The most abundant parasitoid species was more specialized in modified habitats, with reduced attack rates on alternative hosts. Conventional community descriptors failed to discriminate adequately among habitats, indicating that perturbation of the structure and function of ecological communities might be overlooked in studies that do not document and quantify species interactions. Altered interaction structure therefore represents an insidious and functionally important hidden effect of habitat modification by humans.

  11. Modelling size structured food webs using a modified niche model with two predator traits.

    PubMed

    Klecka, Jan

    2014-01-01

    The structure of food webs is frequently described using phenomenological stochastic models. A prominent example, the niche model, was found to produce artificial food webs resembling real food webs according to a range of summary statistics. However, the size structure of food webs generated by the niche model and real food webs has not yet been rigorously compared. To fill this void, I use a body mass based version of the niche model and compare prey-predator body mass allometry and predator-prey body mass ratios predicted by the model to empirical data. The results show that the model predicts weaker size structure than observed in many real food webs. I introduce a modified version of the niche model which allows to control the strength of size-dependence of predator-prey links. In this model, optimal prey body mass depends allometrically on predator body mass and on a second trait, such as foraging mode. These empirically motivated extensions of the model allow to represent size structure of real food webs realistically and can be used to generate artificial food webs varying in several aspects of size structure in a controlled way. Hence, by explicitly including the role of species traits, this model provides new opportunities for simulating the consequences of size structure for food web dynamics and stability.

  12. Fatty acids as biomarkers for food web structure in the eastern North Pacific Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Behrens, J.; Aluwihare, L.; Stephens, B. M.

    2015-12-01

    Resulting from a NSF funded REU program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2015, this research utilized gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyze the fatty acid composition of suspended particulate organic matter (POM) and zooplankton (ZP; primarily copepods). Samples analyzed for this study were collected simultaneously from surface waters approximately 9 miles off the coast of San Diego in June 2015. I was testing the hypothesis that essential fatty acids in ZP should reflect their diet, in particular, distinguishing contributions from a microbial versus traditional food web. Food web structure in this region of the ocean has been shown to be sensitive to climate change on inter-annual and longer timescales. Thus, a proxy that identifies restructuring of food webs would be useful for examining the response of ocean ecosystems to future climate change. Lipids were extracted from ZP and POM using a modified Bligh and Dyer method with sonication. Following saponification free fatty acids and other lipids were further purified using column chromatography. Polar functional groups in lipids were then methylated prior to GC-MS analysis. In addition, 2-dimensional GCxGC with time of flight MS was used to distinguish polyunsaturated fatty acid isomers. My poster will present initial findings of shared fatty acids of zooplankton and POM suspended material from the Northern Pacific collection site. Further research will be focused on analyzing the hydrogen isotope composition of fatty acids in zooplankton and suspended DOM obtained at the collection site to further characterize and increase certainty on the role of microbes and phytoplankton in the region's food-web to distinguish prokaryotic and eukaryotic sources.

  13. Food webs and physical biological coupling on pan-Arctic shelves: Unifying concepts and comprehensive perspectives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carmack, Eddy; Wassmann, Paul

    2006-10-01

    Perhaps more than in any other ocean, our understanding of the continental shelves of the Arctic Mediterranean is decidedly disciplinary, regional and fractured, and this shortcoming must be addressed if we are to face and prepare for climate change. A fundamental flaw is that while excellent process studies exist, and while recent ship-based expeditions have added greatly to our collective body of knowledge, an integrated and fully pan-Arctic perspective on the structure and function of food webs on Arctic shelves is lacking. Based on the collective overviews given in Progress in Oceanography xx, xx-xx, we attempt to address this issue. To build a perspective that inter-connects the various shelf regions we suggest three unifying typologies affecting food webs that will hopefully allow inter-comparison of regional investigations. The first is for shelf geography, wherein shelves are classified according to their role in the Arctic throughflow. The second is for ice climate, wherein the various ice regimes are examined for their specific impacts on food web dynamics. The third is for stratification where it is argued that the source of buoyancy, thermal or haline, impacts production and the vertical carbon flux. We then address the connection between physical habitat and biota on pan-Arctic (and global climate) scales. This discussion begins with the recognition that the Arctic Ocean is integral to the World Ocean via its thermohaline (“estuarine”) exchanges with the Atlantic and Pacific. As such the Arctic and its shelves act as a double estuary, wherein incoming waters become both lighter (positive estuary), by mixing with freshwater sources, and heavier (negative estuary) by cooling and brine release. Shelves are central to such transformations. This complex interconnectivity coupling of the Arctic Ocean to its sub-Arctic (and more productive) neighbors demands that food webs be considered through a macroecological view that includes an ecology of advection

  14. Spatial scales of carbon flow in a river food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Finlay, J.C.; Khandwala, S.; Power, M.E.

    2002-01-01

    Spatial extents of food webs that support stream and river consumers are largely unknown, but such information is essential for basic understanding and management of lotic ecosystems. We used predictable variation in algal ??13C with water velocity, and measurements of consumer ??13C and ??15N to examine carbon flow and trophic structure in food webs of the South Fork Eel River in Northern California. Analyses of ??13C showed that the most abundant macroinvertebrate groups (collector-gatherers and scrapers) relied on algae from local sources within their riffle or shallow pool habitats. In contrast, filter-feeding invertebrates in riffles relied in part on algal production derived from upstream shallow pools. Riffle invertebrate predators also relied in part on consumers of pool-derived algal carbon. One abundant taxon drifting from shallow pools and riffles (baetid mayflies) relied on algal production derived from the habitats from which they dispersed. The trophic linkage from pool algae to riffle invertebrate predators was thus mediated through either predation on pool herbivores dispersing into riffles, or on filter feeders. Algal production in shallow pool habitats dominated the resource base of vertebrate predators in all habitats at the end of the summer. We could not distinguish between the trophic roles of riffle algae and terrestrial detritus, but both carbon sources appeared to play minor roles for vertebrate consumers. In shallow pools, small vertebrates, including three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), roach (Hesperoleucas symmetricus), and rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa), relied on invertebrate prey derived from local pool habitats. During the most productive summer period, growth of all size classes of steelhead and resident rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in all habitats (shallow pools, riffles, and deep unproductive pools) was largely derived from algal production in shallow pools. Preliminary data suggest that the strong

  15. Disruption of the lower food web in Lake Ontario: Did it affect alewife growth or condition?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Gorman, R.; Prindle, S.E.; Lantry, J.R.; Lantry, B.F.

    2008-01-01

    From the early 1980s to the late 1990s, a succession of non-native invertebrates colonized Lake Ontario and the suite of consequences caused by their colonization became known as "food web disruption". For example, the native burrowing amphipod Diporeia spp., a key link in the profundal food web, declined to near absence, exotic predaceous cladocerans with long spines proliferated, altering the zooplankton community, and depth distributions of fishes shifted. These changes had the potential to affect growth and condition of planktivorous alewife Alosa pseudoharengus, the most abundant fish in the lake. To determine if food web disruption affected alewife, we used change-point analysis to examine alewife growth and adult alewife condition during 1976-2006 and analysis-of-variance to determine if values between change points differed significantly. There were no change points in growth during the first year of life. Of three change points in growth during the second year of life, one coincided with the shift in springtime distribution of alewife to deeper water but it was not associated with a significant change in growth. After the second year of life, no change points in growth were evident, although growth in the third year of life spiked in those years when Bythotrephes, the largest of the exotic cladocerans, was abundant suggesting that it was a profitable prey item for age-2 fish. We detected two change points in condition of adult alewife in fall, but the first occurred in 1981, well before disruption began. A second change point occurred in 2003, well after disruption began. After the springtime distribution of alewife shifted deeper during 1992-1994, growth in the first two years of life became more variable, and growth in years of life two and older became correlated (P < 0.05). In conclusion, food web disruption had no negative affect on growth and condition of alewife in Lake Ontario although it appears to have resulted in growth in the first two years of

  16. Cross-ecosystem impacts of stream pollution reduce resource and contaminant flux to riparian food webs.

    PubMed

    Kraus, Johanna M; Schmidt, Travis S; Walters, David M; Wanty, Richard B; Zuellig, Robert E; Wolf, Ruth E

    2014-03-01

    The effects of aquatic contaminants are propagated across ecosystem boundaries by aquatic insects that export resources and contaminants to terrestrial food webs; however, the mechanisms driving these effects are poorly understood. We examined how emergence, contaminant concentration, and total contaminant flux by adult aquatic insects changed over a gradient of bioavailable metals in streams and how these changes affected riparian web-building spiders. Insect emergence decreased 97% over the metal gradient, whereas metal concentrations in adult insects changed relatively little. As a result, total metal exported by insects (flux) was lowest at the most contaminated streams, declining 96% among sites. Spiders were affected by the decrease in prey biomass, but not by metal exposure or metal flux to land in aquatic prey. Aquatic insects are increasingly thought to increase exposure of terrestrial consumers to aquatic contaminants, but stream metals reduce contaminant flux to riparian consumers by strongly impacting the resource linkage. Our results demonstrate the importance of understanding the contaminant-specific effects of aquatic pollutants on adult insect emergence and contaminant accumulation in adults to predict impacts on terrestrial food webs. PMID:24689137

  17. Cross-ecosystem impacts of stream pollution reduce resource and contaminant flux to riparian food webs.

    PubMed

    Kraus, Johanna M; Schmidt, Travis S; Walters, David M; Wanty, Richard B; Zuellig, Robert E; Wolf, Ruth E

    2014-03-01

    The effects of aquatic contaminants are propagated across ecosystem boundaries by aquatic insects that export resources and contaminants to terrestrial food webs; however, the mechanisms driving these effects are poorly understood. We examined how emergence, contaminant concentration, and total contaminant flux by adult aquatic insects changed over a gradient of bioavailable metals in streams and how these changes affected riparian web-building spiders. Insect emergence decreased 97% over the metal gradient, whereas metal concentrations in adult insects changed relatively little. As a result, total metal exported by insects (flux) was lowest at the most contaminated streams, declining 96% among sites. Spiders were affected by the decrease in prey biomass, but not by metal exposure or metal flux to land in aquatic prey. Aquatic insects are increasingly thought to increase exposure of terrestrial consumers to aquatic contaminants, but stream metals reduce contaminant flux to riparian consumers by strongly impacting the resource linkage. Our results demonstrate the importance of understanding the contaminant-specific effects of aquatic pollutants on adult insect emergence and contaminant accumulation in adults to predict impacts on terrestrial food webs.

  18. Metamorphosis alters contaminants and chemical tracers in insects: implications for food webs.

    PubMed

    Kraus, Johanna M; Walters, David M; Wesner, Jeff S; Stricker, Craig A; Schmidt, Travis S; Zuellig, Robert E

    2014-09-16

    Insects are integral to most freshwater and terrestrial food webs, but due to their accumulation of environmental pollutants they are also contaminant vectors that threaten reproduction, development, and survival of consumers. Metamorphosis from larvae to adult can cause large chemical changes in insects, altering contaminant concentrations and fractionation of chemical tracers used to establish contaminant biomagnification in food webs, but no framework exists for predicting and managing these effects. We analyzed data from 39 studies of 68 analytes (stable isotopes and contaminants), and found that metamorphosis effects varied greatly. δ(15)N, widely used to estimate relative trophic position in biomagnification studies, was enriched by ∼ 1‰ during metamorphosis, while δ(13)C used to estimate diet, was similar in larvae and adults. Metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were predominantly lost during metamorphosis leading to ∼ 2 to 125-fold higher larval concentrations and higher exposure risks for predators of larvae compared to predators of adults. In contrast, manufactured organic contaminants (such as polychlorinated biphenyls) were retained and concentrated in adults, causing up to ∼ 3-fold higher adult concentrations and higher exposure risks to predators of adult insects. Both food web studies and contaminant management and mitigation strategies need to consider how metamorphosis affects the movement of materials between habitats and ecosystems, with special regard for aquatic-terrestrial linkages.

  19. Evolution mediates the effects of apex predation on aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Urban, Mark C

    2013-07-22

    Ecological and evolutionary mechanisms are increasingly thought to shape local community dynamics. Here, I evaluate if the local adaptation of a meso-predator to an apex predator alters local food webs. The marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) is an apex predator that consumes both the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) and shared zooplankton prey. Common garden experiments reveal that spotted salamander populations which co-occur with marbled salamanders forage more intensely than those that face other predator species. These foraging differences, in turn, alter the diversity, abundance and composition of zooplankton communities in common garden experiments and natural ponds. Locally adapted spotted salamanders exacerbate prey biomass declines associated with apex predation, but dampen the top-down effects of apex predation on prey diversity. Countergradient selection on foraging explains why locally adapted spotted salamanders exacerbate prey biomass declines. The two salamander species prefer different prey species, which explains why adapted spotted salamanders buffer changes in prey composition owing to apex predation. Results suggest that local adaptation can strongly mediate effects from apex predation on local food webs. Community ecologists might often need to consider the evolutionary history of populations to understand local diversity patterns, food web dynamics, resource gradients and their responses to disturbance.

  20. Metamorphosis alters contaminants and chemical tracers in insects: implications for food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kraus, Johanna M.; Walters, David M.; Wesner, Jeff S.; Stricker, Craig A.; Schmidt, Travis S.; Zuellig, Robert E.

    2014-01-01

    Insects are integral to most freshwater and terrestrial food webs, but due to their accumulation of environmental pollutants they are also contaminant vectors that threaten reproduction, development, and survival of consumers. Metamorphosis from larvae to adult can cause large chemical changes in insects, altering contaminant concentrations and fractionation of chemical tracers used to establish contaminant biomagnification in food webs, but no framework exists for predicting and managing these effects. We analyzed data from 39 studies of 68 analytes (stable isotopes and contaminants), and found that metamorphosis effects varied greatly. δ15N, widely used to estimate relative trophic position in biomagnification studies, was enriched by 1‰ during metamorphosis, while δ13C used to estimate diet, was similar in larvae and adults. Metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were predominantly lost during metamorphosis leading to 2 to 125-fold higher larval concentrations and higher exposure risks for predators of larvae compared to predators of adults. In contrast, manufactured organic contaminants (such as polychlorinated biphenyls) were retained and concentrated in adults, causing up to 3-fold higher adult concentrations and higher exposure risks to predators of adult insects. Both food web studies and contaminant management and mitigation strategies need to consider how metamorphosis affects the movement of materials between habitats and ecosystems, with special regard for aquatic-terrestrial linkages.

  1. Food and Beverage Brands that Market to Children and Adolescents on the Internet: A Content Analysis of Branded Web Sites

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henry, Anna E.; Story, Mary

    2009-01-01

    Objective: To identify food and beverage brand Web sites featuring designated children's areas, assess marketing techniques present on those industry Web sites, and determine nutritional quality of branded food items marketed to children. Design: Systematic content analysis of food and beverage brand Web sites and nutrient analysis of food and…

  2. The probabilistic niche model reveals substantial variation in the niche structure of empirical food webs.

    PubMed

    Williams, Richard J; Purves, Drew W

    2011-09-01

    The structure of food webs, complex networks of interspecies feeding interactions, plays a crucial role in ecosystem resilience and function, and understanding food web structure remains a central problem in ecology. Previous studies have shown that key features of empirical food webs can be reproduced by low-dimensional "niche" models. Here we examine the form and variability of food web niche structure by fitting a probabilistic niche model to 37 empirical food webs, a much larger number of food webs than used in previous studies. The model relaxes previous assumptions about parameter distributions and hierarchy and returns parameter estimates for each species in each web. The model significantly outperforms previous niche model variants and also performs well for several webs where a body-size-based niche model performs poorly, implying that traits other than body size are important in structuring these webs' niche space. Parameter estimates frequently violate previous models' assumptions: in 19 of 37 webs, parameter values are not significantly hierarchical, 32 of 37 webs have nonuniform niche value distributions, and 15 of 37 webs lack a correlation between niche width and niche position. Extending the model to a two-dimensional niche space yields networks with a mixture of one- and two-dimensional niches and provides a significantly better fit for webs with a large number of species and links. These results confirm that food webs are strongly niche-structured but reveal substantial variation in the form of the niche structuring, a result with fundamental implications for ecosystem resilience and function.

  3. The Bering Sea—A dynamic food web perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aydin, Kerim; Mueter, Franz

    2007-11-01

    The Bering Sea is a high-latitude, semi-enclosed sea that supports extensive fish, seabird, marine mammal, and invertebrate populations and some of the world's most productive fisheries. The region consists of several distinct biomes that have undergone wide-scale population variation, in part due to fisheries, but also in part due to the effects of interannual and decadal-scale climatic variation. While recent decades of ocean observation have highlighted possible links between climate and species fluctuations, mechanisms linking climate and population fluctuations are only beginning to be understood. Here, we examine the food webs of Bering Sea ecosystems with particular reference to some key shifts in widely distributed, abundant fish populations and their links with climate variation. Both climate variability and fisheries have substantially altered the Bering Sea ecosystem in the past, but their relative importance in shaping the current ecosystem state remains uncertain.

  4. Food web architecture and population dynamics in laboratory microcosms of protists.

    PubMed

    Lawler, S P; Morin, P J

    1993-05-01

    In theory, food chain length and omnivory are pivotal elements of food web structure that can affect the population dynamics of species within the web. Long food chains are thought to be less stable than shorter food chains, and omnivores are thought to destabilize food webs, although populations of omnivores may be more stable than populations of nonomnivores. In three of four simple food webs assembled from bacteria and protists in laboratory microcosms, the abundance of bacterivorous protists varied more over time when the species occurred in longer versus shorter food chains. The abundance of protists attacked by omnivorous top predators was either more or less temporally variable than in webs where top predators fed only at one adjacent trophic level, depending on the particular combination of interacting species. The abundance of omnivorous top predators varied less over time than the abundance of top predators restricted to feeding only at an adjacent trophic level. Observations of increased temporal variation in prey abundance in longer food chains and low temporal variation in omnivore abundance agree broadly with several predictions of food web theory. The observation that different species in similar trophic positions can exhibit very different dynamics suggests that stability may depend on complex interactions between species-specific life-history traits and general patterns of food web architecture.

  5. Shifts in the trophic base of intermittent stream food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dekar, Matthew P.; Magoulick, Daniel D.; Huxel, G.R.

    2009-01-01

    Understanding spatial and temporal variation in the trophic base of stream food webs is critical for predicting population and community stability, and ecosystem function. We used stable isotope ratios (13C/12C, and 15N/14N) to characterize the trophic base of two streams in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas, U.S.A. We predicted that autochthonous resources would be more important during the spring and summer and allochthonous resources would be more important in the winter due to increased detritus inputs from the riparian zone during autumn leaf drop. We predicted that stream communities would demonstrate increased reliance on autochthonous resources at sites with larger watersheds and greater canopy openness. The study was conducted at three low-order sites in the Mulberry River Drainage (watershed area range: 81-232 km2) seasonally in 2006 and 2007. We used circular statistics to examine community-wide shifts in isotope space among fish and invertebrate consumers in relation to basal resources, including detritus and periphyton. Mixing models were used to quantify the relative contribution of autochthonous and allochthonous energy sources to individual invertebrate consumers. Significant isotopic shifts occurred but results varied by season and site indicating substantial variation in the trophic base of stream food webs. In terms of temporal variation, consumers shifted toward periphyton in the summer during periods of low discharge, but results varied during the interval between summer and winter. Our results did not demonstrate increased reliance on periphyton with increasing watershed area or canopy openness, and detritus was important at all the sites. In our study, riffle-pool geomorphology likely disrupted the expected spatial pattern and stream drying likely impacted the availability and distribution of basal resources.

  6. Marine subsidies have multiple effects on coastal food webs.

    PubMed

    Spiller, David A; Piovia-Scorr, Jonah; Wright, Amber N; Yang, Louie H; Takimoto, Gaku; Schoener, Thomas W; Iwata, Tomoya

    2010-05-01

    The effect of resource subsidies on recipient food webs has received much recent attention. The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of significant seasonal seaweed deposition events, caused by hurricanes and other storms, on species inhabiting subtropical islands. The seaweed represents a pulsed resource subsidy that is consumed by amphipods and flies, which are eaten by lizards and predatory arthropods, which in turn consume terrestrial herbivores. Additionally, seaweed decomposes directly into the soil under plants. We added seaweed to six shoreline plots and removed seaweed from six other plots for three months; all plots were repeatedly monitored for 12 months after the initial manipulation. Lizard density (Anolis sagrei) responded rapidly, and the overall average was 63% higher in subsidized than in removal plots. Stable-isotope analysis revealed a shift in lizard diet composition toward more marine-based prey in subsidized plots. Leaf damage was 70% higher in subsidized than in removal plots after eight months, but subsequent damage was about the same in the two treatments. Foliage growth rate was 70% higher in subsidized plots after 12 months. Results of a complementary study on the relationship between natural variation in marine subsidies and island food web components were consistent with the experimental results. We suggest two causal pathways for the effects of marine subsidies on terrestrial plants: (1) the "fertilization effect" in which seaweed adds nutrients to plants, increasing their growth rate, and (2) the "predator diet shift effect" in which lizards shift from eating local prey (including terrestrial herbivores) to eating mostly marine detritivores.

  7. Biological vs. physical mixing effects on benthic food web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Braeckman, Ulrike; Provoost, Pieter; Moens, Tom; Soetaert, Karline; Middelburg, Jack J; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2011-01-01

    Biological particle mixing (bioturbation) and solute transfer (bio-irrigation) contribute extensively to ecosystem functioning in sediments where physical mixing is low. Macrobenthos transports oxygen and organic matter deeper into the sediment, thereby likely providing favourable niches to lower trophic levels (i.e., smaller benthic animals such as meiofauna and bacteria) and thus stimulating mineralisation. Whether this biological transport facilitates fresh organic matter assimilation by the metazoan lower part of the food web through niche establishment (i.e., ecosystem engineering) or rather deprives them from food sources, is so far unclear. We investigated the effects of the ecosystem engineers Lanice conchilega (bio-irrigator) and Abra alba (bioturbator) compared to abiotic physical mixing events on survival and food uptake of nematodes after a simulated phytoplankton bloom. The (13)C labelled diatom Skeletonema costatum was added to 4 treatments: (1) microcosms containing the bioturbator, (2) microcosms containing the bio-irrigator, (3) control microcosms and (4) microcosms with abiotic manual surface mixing. Nematode survival and subsurface peaks in nematode density profiles were most pronounced in the bio-irrigator treatment. However, nematode specific uptake (Δδ(13)C) of the added diatoms was highest in the physical mixing treatment, where macrobenthos was absent and the diatom (13)C was homogenised. Overall, nematodes fed preferentially on bulk sedimentary organic material rather than the added diatoms. The total C budget (µg C m(-2)), which included TO(13)C remaining in the sediment, respiration, nematode and macrobenthic uptake, highlighted the limited assimilation by the metazoan benthos and the major role of bacterial respiration. In summary, bioturbation and especially bio-irrigation facilitated the lower trophic levels mainly over the long-term through niche establishment. Since the freshly added diatoms represented only a limited food source

  8. Biological vs. physical mixing effects on benthic food web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Braeckman, Ulrike; Provoost, Pieter; Moens, Tom; Soetaert, Karline; Middelburg, Jack J; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2011-01-01

    Biological particle mixing (bioturbation) and solute transfer (bio-irrigation) contribute extensively to ecosystem functioning in sediments where physical mixing is low. Macrobenthos transports oxygen and organic matter deeper into the sediment, thereby likely providing favourable niches to lower trophic levels (i.e., smaller benthic animals such as meiofauna and bacteria) and thus stimulating mineralisation. Whether this biological transport facilitates fresh organic matter assimilation by the metazoan lower part of the food web through niche establishment (i.e., ecosystem engineering) or rather deprives them from food sources, is so far unclear. We investigated the effects of the ecosystem engineers Lanice conchilega (bio-irrigator) and Abra alba (bioturbator) compared to abiotic physical mixing events on survival and food uptake of nematodes after a simulated phytoplankton bloom. The (13)C labelled diatom Skeletonema costatum was added to 4 treatments: (1) microcosms containing the bioturbator, (2) microcosms containing the bio-irrigator, (3) control microcosms and (4) microcosms with abiotic manual surface mixing. Nematode survival and subsurface peaks in nematode density profiles were most pronounced in the bio-irrigator treatment. However, nematode specific uptake (Δδ(13)C) of the added diatoms was highest in the physical mixing treatment, where macrobenthos was absent and the diatom (13)C was homogenised. Overall, nematodes fed preferentially on bulk sedimentary organic material rather than the added diatoms. The total C budget (µg C m(-2)), which included TO(13)C remaining in the sediment, respiration, nematode and macrobenthic uptake, highlighted the limited assimilation by the metazoan benthos and the major role of bacterial respiration. In summary, bioturbation and especially bio-irrigation facilitated the lower trophic levels mainly over the long-term through niche establishment. Since the freshly added diatoms represented only a limited food source

  9. Biological vs. Physical Mixing Effects on Benthic Food Web Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Braeckman, Ulrike; Provoost, Pieter; Moens, Tom; Soetaert, Karline; Middelburg, Jack J.; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2011-01-01

    Biological particle mixing (bioturbation) and solute transfer (bio-irrigation) contribute extensively to ecosystem functioning in sediments where physical mixing is low. Macrobenthos transports oxygen and organic matter deeper into the sediment, thereby likely providing favourable niches to lower trophic levels (i.e., smaller benthic animals such as meiofauna and bacteria) and thus stimulating mineralisation. Whether this biological transport facilitates fresh organic matter assimilation by the metazoan lower part of the food web through niche establishment (i.e., ecosystem engineering) or rather deprives them from food sources, is so far unclear. We investigated the effects of the ecosystem engineers Lanice conchilega (bio-irrigator) and Abra alba (bioturbator) compared to abiotic physical mixing events on survival and food uptake of nematodes after a simulated phytoplankton bloom. The 13C labelled diatom Skeletonema costatum was added to 4 treatments: (1) microcosms containing the bioturbator, (2) microcosms containing the bio-irrigator, (3) control microcosms and (4) microcosms with abiotic manual surface mixing. Nematode survival and subsurface peaks in nematode density profiles were most pronounced in the bio-irrigator treatment. However, nematode specific uptake (Δδ13C) of the added diatoms was highest in the physical mixing treatment, where macrobenthos was absent and the diatom 13C was homogenised. Overall, nematodes fed preferentially on bulk sedimentary organic material rather than the added diatoms. The total C budget (µg C m−2), which included TO13C remaining in the sediment, respiration, nematode and macrobenthic uptake, highlighted the limited assimilation by the metazoan benthos and the major role of bacterial respiration. In summary, bioturbation and especially bio-irrigation facilitated the lower trophic levels mainly over the long-term through niche establishment. Since the freshly added diatoms represented only a limited food source for

  10. Food web de-synchronization in England's largest lake: an assessment based on multiple phenological metrics.

    PubMed

    Thackeray, Stephen J; Henrys, Peter A; Feuchtmayr, Heidrun; Jones, Ian D; Maberly, Stephen C; Winfield, Ian J

    2013-12-01

    Phenological changes have been observed globally for marine, freshwater and terrestrial species, and are an important element of the global biological 'fingerprint' of climate change. Differences in rates of change could desynchronize seasonal species interactions within a food web, threatening ecosystem functioning. Quantification of this risk is hampered by the rarity of long-term data for multiple interacting species from the same ecosystem and by the diversity of possible phenological metrics, which vary in their ecological relevance to food web interactions. We compare phenological change for phytoplankton (chlorophyll a), zooplankton (Daphnia) and fish (perch, Perca fluviatilis) in two basins of Windermere over 40 years and determine whether change has differed among trophic levels, while explicitly accounting for among-metric differences in rates of change. Though rates of change differed markedly among the nine metrics used, seasonal events shifted earlier for all metrics and trophic levels: zooplankton advanced most, and fish least, rapidly. Evidence of altered synchrony was found in both lake basins, when combining information from all phenological metrics. However, comparisons based on single metrics did not consistently detect this signal. A multimetric approach showed that across trophic levels, earlier phenological events have been associated with increasing water temperature. However, for phytoplankton and zooplankton, phenological change was also associated with changes in resource availability. Lower silicate, and higher phosphorus, concentrations were associated with earlier phytoplankton growth, and earlier phytoplankton growth was associated with earlier zooplankton growth. The developing trophic mismatch detected between the dominant fish species in Windermere and important zooplankton food resources may ultimately affect fish survival and portend significant impacts upon ecosystem functioning. We advocate that future studies on phenological

  11. Can You Build It? Using Manipulatives to Assess Student Understanding of Food-Web Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grumbine, Richard

    2012-01-01

    This article outlines an exercise that assesses student knowledge of food-web and energy-flow concepts. Students work in teams and use manipulatives to build food-web models based on criteria assigned by the instructor. The models are then peer reviewed according to guidelines supplied by the instructor.

  12. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 26 2012-07-01 2011-07-01 true Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic organisms in the food web include, but are not limited to, finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects,...

  13. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 26 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic organisms in the food web include, but are not limited to, finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects,...

  14. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic organisms in the food web include, but are not limited to, finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects,...

  15. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic organisms in the food web include, but are not limited to, finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects,...

  16. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic organisms in the food web include, but are not limited to, finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects,...

  17. IMPORTANCE OF TEMPERATURE IN MODELLING PCB BIOACCUMULATION IN THE LAKE MICHIGAN FOOD WEB

    EPA Science Inventory

    In most food web models, the exposure temperature of a food web is typically defined using a single spatial compartment. This essentially assumes that the predator and prey are exposed to the same temperature. However, in a large water body such as Lake Michigan, due to the spati...

  18. High-resolution food webs based on nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Food webs are known to have myriad trophic links between resource and consumer species. However, since the difficulties associated with characterizing the trophic position of organisms—particularly omnivores and higher-order consumers—have remained a major problem in food web ecology, our knowledge ...

  19. Benthic versus Planktonic Foundations of Three Lake Superior Coastal Food Webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    The structure of aquatic food webs can provide information on system function, trophic dynamics and, potentially, responses to anthropogenic stressors. Stable isotope analyses in a Lake Superior coastal wetland (Allouez Bay, WI, USA) revealed that the food web was based upon carb...

  20. Comparison of the structure of lower and upper estuary food webs for Yaquina Bay (OR)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Food web models can be used to estimate effects of water quality, habitat distribution or species loss on productivity, carbon flow and ecosystem service production in Pacific NW estuaries. Here we present a comparison of floral and faunal data used to parameterize food web mode...

  1. Climate change impacts on global food security.

    PubMed

    Wheeler, Tim; von Braun, Joachim

    2013-08-01

    Climate change could potentially interrupt progress toward a world without hunger. A robust and coherent global pattern is discernible of the impacts of climate change on crop productivity that could have consequences for food availability. The stability of whole food systems may be at risk under climate change because of short-term variability in supply. However, the potential impact is less clear at regional scales, but it is likely that climate variability and change will exacerbate food insecurity in areas currently vulnerable to hunger and undernutrition. Likewise, it can be anticipated that food access and utilization will be affected indirectly via collateral effects on household and individual incomes, and food utilization could be impaired by loss of access to drinking water and damage to health. The evidence supports the need for considerable investment in adaptation and mitigation actions toward a "climate-smart food system" that is more resilient to climate change influences on food security. PMID:23908229

  2. Change Management Meets Web 2.0

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gale, Doug

    2008-01-01

    Web 2.0 is the term used to describe a group of web-based creativity, information-sharing, and collaboration tools including wikis, blogs, social networks, and folksonomies. The common thread in all of these tools is twofold: They enable collaboration and information sharing, and their impact on higher education has been dramatic. A recent study…

  3. Consistent role of weak and strong interactions in high- and low-diversity trophic food webs.

    PubMed

    Gellner, Gabriel; McCann, Kevin S

    2016-01-01

    The growing realization of a looming biodiversity crisis has inspired considerable progress in the quest to link biodiversity, structure and ecosystem function. Here we construct a method that bridges low- and high-diversity approaches to food web theory by elucidating the connection between the stability of the basic building block of food webs and the mean stability properties of large random food web networks. Applying this theoretical framework to common food web models reveals two key findings. First, in almost all cases, high-diversity food web models yield a stability relationship between weak and strong interactions that are compatible in every way to simple low-diversity models. And second, the models that generate the recently discovered phenomena of being purely stabilized by increasing interaction strength correspond to the biologically implausible assumption of perfect interaction strength symmetry. PMID:27068000

  4. Consistent role of weak and strong interactions in high- and low-diversity trophic food webs.

    PubMed

    Gellner, Gabriel; McCann, Kevin S

    2016-01-01

    The growing realization of a looming biodiversity crisis has inspired considerable progress in the quest to link biodiversity, structure and ecosystem function. Here we construct a method that bridges low- and high-diversity approaches to food web theory by elucidating the connection between the stability of the basic building block of food webs and the mean stability properties of large random food web networks. Applying this theoretical framework to common food web models reveals two key findings. First, in almost all cases, high-diversity food web models yield a stability relationship between weak and strong interactions that are compatible in every way to simple low-diversity models. And second, the models that generate the recently discovered phenomena of being purely stabilized by increasing interaction strength correspond to the biologically implausible assumption of perfect interaction strength symmetry.

  5. Consistent role of weak and strong interactions in high- and low-diversity trophic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gellner, Gabriel; McCann, Kevin S.

    2016-01-01

    The growing realization of a looming biodiversity crisis has inspired considerable progress in the quest to link biodiversity, structure and ecosystem function. Here we construct a method that bridges low- and high-diversity approaches to food web theory by elucidating the connection between the stability of the basic building block of food webs and the mean stability properties of large random food web networks. Applying this theoretical framework to common food web models reveals two key findings. First, in almost all cases, high-diversity food web models yield a stability relationship between weak and strong interactions that are compatible in every way to simple low-diversity models. And second, the models that generate the recently discovered phenomena of being purely stabilized by increasing interaction strength correspond to the biologically implausible assumption of perfect interaction strength symmetry. PMID:27068000

  6. Using Stable Isotope Mixing in a Great Lakes Coastal Tributary to Determine Food Web Linkages in Young Fishes

    EPA Science Inventory

    Our objectives were to determine whether we can detect a stable isotope gradient along the river-Great Lake hydrologic continuum in a coastal river and use it to identify changes across this gradient in the food web supporting young-of-year (YOY) and juvenile fish production. We ...

  7. Effects of experimental seaweed deposition on lizard and ant predation in an island food web.

    PubMed

    Piovia-Scott, Jonah; Spiller, David A; Schoener, Thomas W

    2011-01-28

    The effect of environmental change on ecosystems is mediated by species interactions. Environmental change may remove or add species and shift life-history events, altering which species interact at a given time. However, environmental change may also reconfigure multispecies interactions when both species composition and phenology remain intact. In a Caribbean island system, a major manifestation of environmental change is seaweed deposition, which has been linked to eutrophication, overfishing, and hurricanes. Here, we show in a whole-island field experiment that without seaweed two predators--lizards and ants--had a substantially greater-than-additive effect on herbivory. When seaweed was added to mimic deposition by hurricanes, no interactive predator effect occurred. Thus environmental change can substantially restructure food-web interactions, complicating efforts to predict anthropogenic changes in ecosystem processes.

  8. Parasites as prey in aquatic food webs: implications for predator infection and parasite transmission

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thieltges, David W.; Amundsen, Per-Arne; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Johnson, Pieter T.J.; Lafferty, Levin D.; Mouritsen, Kim N.; Preston, Daniel L.; Reise, Karsten; Zander, C. Dieter; Poulin, Robert

    2013-01-01

    While the recent inclusion of parasites into food-web studies has highlighted the role of parasites as consumers, there is accumulating evidence that parasites can also serve as prey for predators. Here we investigated empirical patterns of predation on parasites and their relationships with parasite transmission in eight topological food webs representing marine and freshwater ecosystems. Within each food web, we examined links in the typical predator–prey sub web as well as the predator–parasite sub web, i.e. the quadrant of the food web indicating which predators eat parasites. Most predator– parasite links represented ‘concomitant predation’ (consumption and death of a parasite along with the prey/host; 58–72%), followed by ‘trophic transmission’ (predator feeds on infected prey and becomes infected; 8–32%) and predation on free-living parasite life-cycle stages (4–30%). Parasite life-cycle stages had, on average, between 4.2 and 14.2 predators. Among the food webs, as predator richness increased, the number of links exploited by trophically transmitted parasites increased at about the same rate as did the number of links where these stages serve as prey. On the whole, our analyses suggest that predation on parasites has important consequences for both predators and parasites, and food web structure. Because our analysis is solely based on topological webs, determining the strength of these interactions is a promising avenue for future research.

  9. The use of DNA barcodes in food web construction-terrestrial and aquatic ecologists unite!

    PubMed

    Roslin, Tomas; Majaneva, Sanna

    2016-09-01

    By depicting who eats whom, food webs offer descriptions of how groupings in nature (typically species or populations) are linked to each other. For asking questions on how food webs are built and work, we need descriptions of food webs at different levels of resolution. DNA techniques provide opportunities for highly resolved webs. In this paper, we offer an exposé of how DNA-based techniques, and DNA barcodes in particular, have recently been used to construct food web structure in both terrestrial and aquatic systems. We highlight how such techniques can be applied to simultaneously improve the taxonomic resolution of the nodes of the web (i.e., the species), and the links between them (i.e., who eats whom). We end by proposing how DNA barcodes and DNA information may allow new approaches to the construction of larger interaction webs, and overcome some hurdles to achieving adequate sample size. Most importantly, we propose that the joint adoption and development of these techniques may serve to unite approaches to food web studies in aquatic and terrestrial systems-revealing the extent to which food webs in these environments are structured similarly to or differently from each other, and how they are linked by dispersal.

  10. The use of DNA barcodes in food web construction-terrestrial and aquatic ecologists unite!

    PubMed

    Roslin, Tomas; Majaneva, Sanna

    2016-09-01

    By depicting who eats whom, food webs offer descriptions of how groupings in nature (typically species or populations) are linked to each other. For asking questions on how food webs are built and work, we need descriptions of food webs at different levels of resolution. DNA techniques provide opportunities for highly resolved webs. In this paper, we offer an exposé of how DNA-based techniques, and DNA barcodes in particular, have recently been used to construct food web structure in both terrestrial and aquatic systems. We highlight how such techniques can be applied to simultaneously improve the taxonomic resolution of the nodes of the web (i.e., the species), and the links between them (i.e., who eats whom). We end by proposing how DNA barcodes and DNA information may allow new approaches to the construction of larger interaction webs, and overcome some hurdles to achieving adequate sample size. Most importantly, we propose that the joint adoption and development of these techniques may serve to unite approaches to food web studies in aquatic and terrestrial systems-revealing the extent to which food webs in these environments are structured similarly to or differently from each other, and how they are linked by dispersal. PMID:27484156

  11. Assessing the trophic position and ecological role of squids in marine ecosystems by means of food-web models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coll, Marta; Navarro, Joan; Olson, Robert J.; Christensen, Villy

    2013-10-01

    We synthesized available information from ecological models at local and regional scales to obtain a global picture of the trophic position and ecological role of squids in marine ecosystems. First, static food-web models were used to analyze basic ecological parameters and indicators of squids: biomass, production, consumption, trophic level, omnivory index, predation mortality diet, and the ecological role. In addition, we developed various dynamic temporal simulations using two food-web models that included squids in their parameterization, and we investigated potential impacts of fishing pressure and environmental conditions for squid populations and, consequently, for marine food webs. Our results showed that squids occupy a large range of trophic levels in marine food webs and show a large trophic width, reflecting the versatility in their feeding behaviors and dietary habits. Models illustrated that squids are abundant organisms in marine ecosystems, and have high growth and consumption rates, but these parameters are highly variable because squids are adapted to a large variety of environmental conditions. Results also show that squids can have a large trophic impact on other elements of the food web, and top-down control from squids to their prey can be high. In addition, some squid species are important prey of apical predators and may be keystone species in marine food webs. In fact, we found strong interrelationships between neritic squids and the populations of their prey and predators in coastal and shelf areas, while the role of squids in open ocean and upwelling ecosystems appeared more constrained to a bottom-up impact on their predators. Therefore, large removals of squids will likely have large-scale effects on marine ecosystems. In addition, simulations confirm that squids are able to benefit from a general increase in fishing pressure, mainly due to predation release, and quickly respond to changes triggered by the environment. Squids may thus

  12. Food Web Architecture and Basal Resources Interact to Determine Biomass and Stoichiometric Cascades along a Benthic Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Guariento, Rafael D.; Carneiro, Luciana S.; Caliman, Adriano; Leal, João J. F.; Bozelli, Reinaldo L.; Esteves, Francisco A.

    2011-01-01

    Understanding the effects of predators and resources on primary producers has been a major focus of interest in ecology. Within this context, the trophic cascade concept especially concerning the pelagic zone of lakes has been the focus of the majority of these studies. However, littoral food webs could be especially interesting because base trophic levels may be strongly regulated by consumers and prone to be light limited. In this study, the availability of nutrients and light and the presence of an omnivorous fish (Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus) were manipulated in enclosures placed in a humic coastal lagoon (Cabiúnas Lagoon, Macaé – RJ) to evaluate the individual and interactive effects of resource availability (nutrients and light) and food web configuration on the biomass and stoichiometry of periphyton and benthic grazers. Our findings suggest that light and nutrients interact to determine periphyton biomass and stoichiometry, which propagates to the consumer level. We observed a positive effect of the availability of nutrients on periphytic biomass and grazers' biomass, as well as a reduction of periphytic C∶N∶P ratios and an increase of grazers' N and P content. Low light availability constrained the propagation of nutrient effects on periphyton biomass and induced higher periphytic C∶N∶P ratios. The effects of fish presence strongly interacted with resource availability. In general, a positive effect of fish presence was observed for the total biomass of periphyton and grazer's biomass, especially with high resource availability, but the opposite was found for periphytic autotrophic biomass. Fish also had a significant effect on periphyton stoichiometry, but no effect was observed on grazers' stoichiometric ratios. In summary, we observed that the indirect effect of fish predation on periphyton biomass might be dependent on multiple resources and periphyton nutrient stoichiometric variation can affect consumers' stoichiometry. PMID:21789234

  13. Foraging adaptation and the relationship between food-web complexity and stability.

    PubMed

    Kondoh, Michio

    2003-02-28

    Ecological theory suggests that complex food webs should not persist because of their inherent instability. "Real" ecosystems often support a large number of interacting species. A mathematical model shows that fluctuating short-term selection on trophic links, arising from a consumer's adaptive food choice, is a key to the long-term stability of complex communities. Without adaptive foragers, food-web complexity destabilizes community composition; whereas in their presence, complexity may enhance community persistence through facilitation of dynamical food-web reconstruction that buffers environmental fluctuations. The model predicts a linkage pattern consistent with field observations.

  14. Climate Change and Global Food Security: Food Access, Utilization, and the US Food System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, M. E.; Antle, J. M.; Backlund, P. W.; Carr, E. R.; Easterling, W. E.; Walsh, M.; Ammann, C. M.; Attavanich, W.; Barrett, C. B.; Bellemare, M. F.; Dancheck, V.; Funk, C.; Grace, K.; Ingram, J. S. I.; Jiang, H.; Maletta, H.; Mata, T.; Murray, A.; Ngugi, M.; Ojima, D. S.; O'Neill, B. C.; Tebaldi, C.

    2015-12-01

    This paper will summarize results from the USDA report entitled 'Climate change, Global Food Security and the U.S. Food system'. The report focuses on the impact of climate change on global food security, defined as "when all people at all times have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life". The assessment brought together authors and contributors from twenty federal, academic, nongovernmental, intergovernmental, and private organizations in four countries to identify climate change effects on food security through 2100, and analyze the U.S.'s likely connections with that world. This talk will describe how climate change will likely affect food access and food utilization, and summarize how the U.S. food system contributes to global food security, and will be affected by climate change.

  15. Watershed and Lake Influences on the Energetic Base of Coastal Wetland Food Webs across the Great Lakes Basin

    EPA Science Inventory

    This manuscript examines the responses of Great Lakes coastal wetland food webs to nutrient enrichment and identifies three classes of systems whose food webs respond differently. Or is that differentially? Anyway, coastal wetlands with relatively long hydraulic residence times ...

  16. Multiple sources of isotopic variation in a terrestrial arthropod community: challenges for disentangling food webs.

    PubMed

    Daugherty, Matthew P; Briggs, Cheryl J

    2007-08-01

    Documenting trophic links in a food web has traditionally required complex exclusion experiments coupled with extraordinarily labor-intensive direct observations of predator foraging. Newer techniques such as stable isotope analysis (SIA) may facilitate relatively quick and accurate assessments of consumer feeding behavior. Ratios of N and C isotopes are thought to be useful for determining species' trophic position (e.g., 1 degrees consumer, 2 degrees consumer, or omnivore) and their original carbon source (e.g., C3 or C4 plants; terrestrial or marine nutrients). Thus far, however, applications of stable isotopes to terrestrial arthropod food webs have suggested that high taxon-specific variation may undermine the effectiveness of this method. We applied stable isotope analysis to a pear orchard food web, in which biological control of a dominant pest, pear psylla (Cacopsylla pyricola), involves primarily generalist arthropod predators with a high frequency of omnivory. We found multiple sources of isotopic variation in this food web, including differences among plant tissues; time, stage, and taxon-specific differences among herbivores (despite similar feeding modes); and high taxon-specific variation among predators (with no clear evidence of omnivory). Collectively, these multiple sources of isotopic variation blur our view of the structure of this food web. Idiosyncrasies in consumer trophic shifts make ad hoc application of SIA to even moderately complex food webs intractable. SIA may not be a generally applicable "quick and dirty" method for delineating terrestrial food web structure-not without calibration of specific consumer food trophic shifts.

  17. Trophic levels and trophic tangles: the prevalence of omnivory in real food webs.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Ross M; Hemberg, Martin; Starzomski, Brian M; Shurin, Jonathan B

    2007-03-01

    The concept of trophic levels is one of the oldest in ecology and informs our understanding of energy flow and top-down control within food webs, but it has been criticized for ignoring omnivory. We tested whether trophic levels were apparent in 58 real food webs in four habitat types by examining patterns of trophic position. A large proportion of taxa (64.4%) occupied integer trophic positions, suggesting that discrete trophic levels do exist. Importantly however, the majority of those trophic positions were aggregated around integer values of 0 and 1, representing plants and herbivores. For the majority of the real food webs considered here, secondary consumers were no more likely to occupy an integer trophic position than in randomized food webs. This means that, above the herbivore trophic level, food webs are better characterized as a tangled web of omnivores. Omnivory was most common in marine systems, rarest in streams, and intermediate in lakes and terrestrial food webs. Trophic-level-based concepts such as trophic cascades may apply to systems with short food chains, but they become less valid as food chains lengthen.

  18. Arthropod food webs become increasingly lipid-limited at higher trophic levels.

    PubMed

    Wilder, Shawn M; Norris, Michael; Lee, Raymond W; Raubenheimer, David; Simpson, Stephen J

    2013-07-01

    Understanding why food chains are relatively short in length has been an area of research and debate for decades. We tested if progressive changes in the nutritional content of arthropods with trophic position limit the availability of a key nutrient, lipid, for carnivores. Arthropods at higher trophic levels had progressively less lipid and more protein in their bodies compared with arthropods at lower trophic levels. The nutrients present in arthropod bodies were directly related to the nutrients that predators extracted when feeding on those arthropods. As a consequence, nutrient assimilation shifted from lipid-biased to protein-biased as arthropods ascended trophic levels from herbivores to secondary carnivores. Successive changes in the nutritional consequences of predation may ultimately set an upper limit on the number of trophic levels in arthropod communities. Further work is needed to examine the influence of lipid and other nutrients on food web traits in a range of ecosystems.

  19. Local adaptation to temperature conserves top-down control in a grassland food web.

    PubMed

    Barton, Brandon T

    2011-10-22

    A fundamental limitation in many climate change experiments is that tests represent relatively short-term 'shock' experiments and so do not incorporate the phenotypic plasticity or evolutionary change that may occur during the gradual process of climate change. However, capturing this aspect of climate change effects in an experimental design is a difficult challenge that few studies have accomplished. I examined the effect of temperature and predator climate history in food webs composed of herbaceous plants, generalist grasshopper herbivores and spider predators across a natural 4.8°C temperature gradient spanning 500 km in northeastern USA. In these grasslands, the effects of rising temperatures on the plant community are indirect and arise via altered predator-herbivore interactions. Experimental warming had no direct effect on grasshoppers, but reduced predation risk effects by causing spiders from all study sites to seek thermal refuge lower in the plant canopy. However, spider thermal tolerance corresponded to spider origin such that spiders from warmer study sites tolerated higher temperatures than spiders from cooler study sites. As a consequence, the magnitude of the indirect effect of spiders on plants did not differ along the temperature gradient, although a reciprocal transplant experiment revealed significantly different effects of spider origin on the magnitude of top-down control. These results suggest that variation in predator response to warming may maintain species interactions and associated food web processes when faced with long term, chronic climate warming.

  20. Local adaptation to temperature conserves top-down control in a grassland food web.

    PubMed

    Barton, Brandon T

    2011-10-22

    A fundamental limitation in many climate change experiments is that tests represent relatively short-term 'shock' experiments and so do not incorporate the phenotypic plasticity or evolutionary change that may occur during the gradual process of climate change. However, capturing this aspect of climate change effects in an experimental design is a difficult challenge that few studies have accomplished. I examined the effect of temperature and predator climate history in food webs composed of herbaceous plants, generalist grasshopper herbivores and spider predators across a natural 4.8°C temperature gradient spanning 500 km in northeastern USA. In these grasslands, the effects of rising temperatures on the plant community are indirect and arise via altered predator-herbivore interactions. Experimental warming had no direct effect on grasshoppers, but reduced predation risk effects by causing spiders from all study sites to seek thermal refuge lower in the plant canopy. However, spider thermal tolerance corresponded to spider origin such that spiders from warmer study sites tolerated higher temperatures than spiders from cooler study sites. As a consequence, the magnitude of the indirect effect of spiders on plants did not differ along the temperature gradient, although a reciprocal transplant experiment revealed significantly different effects of spider origin on the magnitude of top-down control. These results suggest that variation in predator response to warming may maintain species interactions and associated food web processes when faced with long term, chronic climate warming. PMID:21367789

  1. Invasive plants have different effects on trophic structure of green and brown food webs in terrestrial ecosystems: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    McCary, Matthew A; Mores, Robin; Farfan, Monica A; Wise, David H

    2016-03-01

    Although invasive plants are a major source of terrestrial ecosystem degradation worldwide, it remains unclear which trophic levels above the base of the food web are most vulnerable to plant invasions. We performed a meta-analysis of 38 independent studies from 32 papers to examine how invasive plants alter major groupings of primary and secondary consumers in three globally distributed ecosystems: wetlands, woodlands and grasslands. Within each ecosystem we examined if green (grazing) food webs are more sensitive to plant invasions compared to brown (detrital) food webs. Invasive plants have strong negative effects on primary consumers (detritivores, bacterivores, fungivores, and/or herbivores) in woodlands and wetlands, which become less abundant in both green and brown food webs in woodlands and green webs in wetlands. Plant invasions increased abundances of secondary consumers (predators and/or parasitoids) only in woodland brown food webs and green webs in wetlands. Effects of invasive plants on grazing and detrital food webs clearly differed between ecosystems. Overall, invasive plants had the most pronounced effects on the trophic structure of wetlands and woodlands, but caused no detectable changes to grassland trophic structure. PMID:26757702

  2. Invasive plants have different effects on trophic structure of green and brown food webs in terrestrial ecosystems: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    McCary, Matthew A; Mores, Robin; Farfan, Monica A; Wise, David H

    2016-03-01

    Although invasive plants are a major source of terrestrial ecosystem degradation worldwide, it remains unclear which trophic levels above the base of the food web are most vulnerable to plant invasions. We performed a meta-analysis of 38 independent studies from 32 papers to examine how invasive plants alter major groupings of primary and secondary consumers in three globally distributed ecosystems: wetlands, woodlands and grasslands. Within each ecosystem we examined if green (grazing) food webs are more sensitive to plant invasions compared to brown (detrital) food webs. Invasive plants have strong negative effects on primary consumers (detritivores, bacterivores, fungivores, and/or herbivores) in woodlands and wetlands, which become less abundant in both green and brown food webs in woodlands and green webs in wetlands. Plant invasions increased abundances of secondary consumers (predators and/or parasitoids) only in woodland brown food webs and green webs in wetlands. Effects of invasive plants on grazing and detrital food webs clearly differed between ecosystems. Overall, invasive plants had the most pronounced effects on the trophic structure of wetlands and woodlands, but caused no detectable changes to grassland trophic structure.

  3. Fluorinated organic compounds in an eastern Arctic marine food web.

    PubMed

    Tomy, Gregg T; Budakowski, Wes; Halldorson, Thor; Helm, Paul A; Stern, Gary A; Friesen, Ken; Pepper, Karen; Tittlemier, Sheryl A; Fisk, Aaron T

    2004-12-15

    An eastern Arctic marine food web was analyzed for perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS, C8F17SO3-), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA, C7F15COO-), perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA, C8F17SO2NH2), and N-ethylperfluorooctane sulfonamide (N-EtPFOSA, C8F17SO2NHCH2CH3) to examine the extent of bioaccumulation. PFOS was detected in all species analyzed, and mean concentrations ranged from 0.28 +/- 0.09 ng/g (arithmetic mean +/- 1 standard error, wet wt, whole body) in clams (Mya truncata) to 20.2 +/- 3.9 ng/g (wet wt, liver) in glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus). PFOA was detected in approximately 40% of the samples analyzed at concentrations generally smaller than those found for PFOS; the greatest concentrations were observed in zooplankton (2.6 +/- 0.3 ng/g, wet wt). N-EtPFOSA was detected in all species except redfish with mean concentrations ranging from 0.39 +/- 0.07 ng/g (wet wt) in mixed zooplankton to 92.8 +/- 41.9 ng/g (wet wt) in Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida). This is the first report of N-EtPFOSA in Arctic biota. PFOSA was only detected in livers of beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) (20.9 +/- 7.9 ng/g, wet wt) and narwhal (Monodon monoceros) (6.2 +/- 2.3 ng/g, wet wt), suggesting that N-EtPFOSA and other PFOSA-type precursors are likely present but are being biotransformed to PFOSA. A positive linear relationship was found between PFOS concentrations (wet wt) and trophic level (TL), based on delta15N values, (r2 = 0.51, p < 0.0001) resulting in a trophic magnification factor of 3.1. TL-corrected biomagnification factor estimates for PFOS ranged from 0.4 to 9. Both results indicate that PFOS biomagnifies in the Arctic marine food web when liver concentrations of PFOS are used for seabirds and marine mammals. However, transformation of N-EtPFOSA and PFOSA and potential other perfluorinated compounds to PFOS may contribute to PFOS levels in marine mammals and may inflate estimated biomagnification values. None of the other fluorinated compounds (N-EtPFOSA, PFOSA, and PFOA) were

  4. Effects of anthropogenic nitrogen input on the aquatic food webs of river ecosystem in central Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohte, N.; Togashi, H.; Tokuchi, N.; Yoshimura, M.; Kato, Y.; Ishikawa, N. F.; Osaka, K.; Kondo, M.; Tayasu, I.

    2014-12-01

    To evaluate the impact of the anthropogenic nitrogen input to the river ecosystem, we conducted the monitoring on nutrient status of river waters and food web structures of aquatic organisms. Especially, changes of sources and concentration of nitrate (NO3-) in river water were focused to evaluate the impact of anthropogenic nitrogen loadings from agricultural and residential areas. Stable nitrogen isotope ratio (δ15N) of aquatic organisms has also intensively been monitored not only to describe their food web structure, but also to detect the influences of extraneous nitrogen inputs. Field samplings an observation campaigns were conducted in the Arida river watershed located in central part of Japan at four different seasons from September 2011 to October 2012. Five observation points were set from headwaters to the point just above the brackish waters starts. Water samples for chemical analysis were taken at the observation points for each campaign. Organisms including leaf litters, benthic algae, aquatic insects, crustacean, and fishes were sampled at each point quantitatively. Results of the riverine survey utilizing 5 regular sampling points showed that δ15N of nitrate (NO3-) increased from forested upstream (˜2 ‰) to the downstream (˜7 ‰) due to the sewage loads and fertilizer effluents from agricultural area. Correspondingly the δ15N of benthic algae and aquatic insects increased toward the downstream. This indicates that primary producers of each reach strongly relied on the local N sources and it was utilized effectively in their food web. Simulation using a GIS based mixing model considering the spatial distributions of human population density and fertilizer effluents revealed that strongest impacts of N inputs was originated from organic fertilizers applied to orchards in the middle to lower parts of catchment. Differences in δ15N between primary producers and predators were 6-7 ‰ similarly at all sampling points. Food web structural

  5. Food webs: ordering species according to body size yields high degree of intervality.

    PubMed

    Zook, Alexander E; Eklof, Anna; Jacob, Ute; Allesina, Stefano

    2011-02-21

    Food webs, the networks describing "who eats whom" in an ecosystem, are nearly interval, i.e. there is a way to order the species so that almost all the resources of each consumer are adjacent in the ordering. This feature has important consequences, as it means that the structure of food webs can be described using a single (or few) species' traits. Moreover, exploiting the quasi-intervality found in empirical webs can help build better models for food web structure. Here we investigate which species trait is a good proxy for ordering the species to produce quasi-interval orderings. We find that body size produces a significant degree of intervality in almost all food webs analyzed, although it does not match the maximum intervality for the networks. There is also a great variability between webs. Other orderings based on trophic levels produce a lower level of intervality. Finally, we extend the concept of intervality from predator-centered (in which resources are in intervals) to prey-centered (in which consumers are in intervals). In this case as well we find that body size yields a significant, but not maximal, level of intervality. These results show that body size is an important, although not perfect, trait that shapes species interactions in food webs. This has important implications for the formulation of simple models used to construct realistic representations of food webs.

  6. Stable isotope analysis of a newly established macrofaunal food web 1.5 years after the Hebei Spirit oil spill.

    PubMed

    Han, Eunah; Park, Hyun Je; Bergamino, Leandro; Choi, Kwang-Sik; Choy, Eun Jung; Yu, Ok Hwan; Lee, Tae Won; Park, Heung-Sik; Shim, Won Joon; Kang, Chang-Keun

    2015-01-15

    We examined trophic relationships in a newly established community 1.5 years after the Hebei Spirit oil spill on the west coast of Korea. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in consumers and their potential food sources were compared between the oil-spill site and reference site, located 13.5 km from the oil-spill spot. The isotopic mixing model and a novel circular statistics rejected the influx of petrogenic carbon into the community and identified spatial consistencies such as the high contributions of microphytobenthos, food-chain length, and the isotopic niche of each feeding guild between sites. We suggested that high level of trophic plasticity and the prevalence of omnivory of consumers may promote the robustness of food web against the oil contamination. Furthermore, we highlighted the need of holistic approaches including different functional groups to quantify changes in the food web structure and assess the influence of different perturbations including oil spill.

  7. Inverse modeling of carbon and nitrogen flows in the pelagic food web of the northeast subarctic Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vézina, A. F.; Savenkoff, C.

    1999-11-01

    We use inverse analysis to model carbon and nitrogen flows in the upper ocean food web at Ocean Station Papa (OSP; 50°N, 145°W) for winter, spring, and late summer. The seasonal variability in basic physical, chemical, and biological characteristics is low, and the particulate carbon and nitrogen flux at 200 m is remarkably constant. Despite this apparent uniformity, the food web structure undergoes significant seasonal changes. The diversity of trophic pathways is higher during late summer than during the other two periods. The spring ecosystem is not in steady state and undergoes net phytoplankton growth and macronutrient consumption. The microbial loop is well developed only during late summer. Nevertheless, ammonium regeneration by the food web seems insufficient to meet demand by the primary producers. The difference may be due to recycling of dissolved organic nitrogen (urea+free amino acids), a process not represented in the model. The winter food web is the closest to steady state, with nitrate utilisation approximately in balance with export of particulate nitrogen. The inverse analysis suggests two main seasonally invariant features of the NE Pacific ecosystem. First, the major trophic pathway is always from picophytoplankton (0.2-5 μm) to microzooplankton (heterotrophic dinoflagellates and ciliates) to mesozooplankton. This supports the idea of a strong coupling between the microbial and metazoan food webs. Second, much of the primary production (and bacterial production in late summer) is not grazed and is recycled through the detrital pool. Both these features seem to arise from the requirement to conserve nitrogen as well as carbon in the food web. More complete measurements on the microzooplankton 20-200 μm in size, including the small metazoans like nauplii larvae, are required to improve the models presented here.

  8. Trophic groups and modules: two levels of group detection in food webs.

    PubMed

    Gauzens, Benoit; Thébault, Elisa; Lacroix, Gérard; Legendre, Stéphane

    2015-05-01

    Within food webs, species can be partitioned into groups according to various criteria. Two notions have received particular attention: trophic groups (TGs), which have been used for decades in the ecological literature, and more recently, modules. The relationship between these two group concepts remains unknown in empirical food webs. While recent developments in network theory have led to efficient methods for detecting modules in food webs, the determination of TGs (groups of species that are functionally similar) is largely based on subjective expert knowledge. We develop a novel algorithm for TG detection. We apply this method to empirical food webs and show that aggregation into TGs allows for the simplification of food webs while preserving their information content. Furthermore, we reveal a two-level hierarchical structure where modules partition food webs into large bottom-top trophic pathways, whereas TGs further partition these pathways into groups of species with similar trophic connections. This provides new perspectives for the study of dynamical and functional consequences of food-web structure, bridging topological and dynamical analysis. TGs have a clear ecological meaning and are found to provide a trade-off between network complexity and information loss.

  9. Hydrology and grazing jointly control a large-river food web.

    PubMed

    Strayer, David L; Pace, Michael L; Caraco, Nina F; Cole, Jonathan J; Findlay, Stuart E G

    2008-01-01

    Inputs of fresh water and grazing both can control aquatic food webs, but little is known about the relative strengths of and interactions between these controls. We use long-term data on the food web of the freshwater Hudson River estuary to investigate the importance of, and interactions between, inputs of fresh water and grazing by the invasive zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha). Both freshwater inputs and zebra mussel grazing have strong, pervasive effects on the Hudson River food web. High flow tended to reduce population size in most parts of the food web. High grazing also reduced populations in the planktonic food web, but increased populations in the littoral food web, probably as a result of increases in water clarity. The influences of flow and zebra mussel grazing were roughly equal (i.e., within a factor of 2) for many variables over the period of our study. Zebra mussel grazing made phytoplankton less sensitive to freshwater inputs, but water clarity and the littoral food web more sensitive to freshwater inputs, showing that interactions between these two controlling factors can be strong and varied.

  10. Trophic groups and modules: two levels of group detection in food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gauzens, Benoit; Thébault, Elisa; Lacroix, Gérard; Legendre, Stéphane

    2015-01-01

    Within food webs, species can be partitioned into groups according to various criteria. Two notions have received particular attention: trophic groups (TGs), which have been used for decades in the ecological literature, and more recently, modules. The relationship between these two group concepts remains unknown in empirical food webs. While recent developments in network theory have led to efficient methods for detecting modules in food webs, the determination of TGs (groups of species that are functionally similar) is largely based on subjective expert knowledge. We develop a novel algorithm for TG detection. We apply this method to empirical food webs and show that aggregation into TGs allows for the simplification of food webs while preserving their information content. Furthermore, we reveal a two-level hierarchical structure where modules partition food webs into large bottom–top trophic pathways, whereas TGs further partition these pathways into groups of species with similar trophic connections. This provides new perspectives for the study of dynamical and functional consequences of food-web structure, bridging topological and dynamical analysis. TGs have a clear ecological meaning and are found to provide a trade-off between network complexity and information loss. PMID:25878127

  11. Parameterizations of truncated food web models from the perspective of an end-to-end model approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fennel, Wolfgang

    2009-02-01

    Modeling of marine ecosystems is broadly divided into two branches: biogeochemical processes and fish production. The biogeochemical models see the fish only implicitly by mortality rates, while fish production models see the lower food web basically through prescribed food, e.g., copepod biomass. The skill assessment of ecological models, which are usually truncated biogeochemical models, also involves the question of how the effects of the missing higher food web are parameterized. This paper contributes to the goal of bridging biogeochemical models and fish-production models by employing a recently developed coupled NPZDF-model, Fennel [Fennel, W., 2007. Towards bridging biogeochemical and fish production models. Journal of Marine Systems, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2007.06.008]. Here we study parameterizations of truncated NPZD-models from the viewpoint of a complete model. The effects of the higher food web on the cycling of the state variables in a truncated NPZD-model cannot be unambiguously imitated. For example, one can mimic effects of fishery by export fluxes of one of the state variables. It is shown that the mass fluxes between the lower and upper part of the full model food web are significantly smaller than the fluxes within the NPZD-model. However, over longer time scales, relatively small changes can accumulate and eventually become important.

  12. The Web: Creating and Changing Jobs. Trends and Issues Alerts.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brown, Bettina Lankard

    The World Wide Web is changing not only how individuals locate jobs but also the ways existing jobs are performed. Individuals seeking work will need to know how to use the Web as a tool for enhancing their job performance. The enhanced global communication made possible through Internet technology and the increase of marketing plans combining…

  13. Invasive crayfish as vectors of mercury in freshwater food webs of the Pacific Northwest

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, Branden L.; Willacker, James J.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Pearl, Christopher A.; Adams, Michael J.

    2014-01-01

    Invasive species are important drivers of environmental change in aquatic ecosystems and can alter habitat characteristics, community composition, and ecosystem energetics. Such changes have important implications for many ecosystem processes, including the bioaccumulation and biomagnification of contaminants through food webs. Mercury concentrations were measured in 2 nonnative and 1 native crayfish species from western Oregon (USA). Nonnative red swamp crayfish had mercury concentrations similar to those in native signal crayfish (0.29 ± 0.05 µg/g dry wt and 0.36 ± 0.06 µg/g dry wt, respectively), whereas the nonnative ringed crayfish had lower mercury concentrations (0.10 ± 0.02 µg/g dry wt) than either of the other species. The mean energy content of muscle was similar between the native signal crayfish and nonnative ringed crayfish but was significantly higher in the nonnative red swamp crayfish. Across species, mercury concentrations were negatively correlated with energy density. Such energetic differences could exacerbate changes in mercury transfer through trophic pathways of food webs, especially via alterations to the growth dynamics of consumers. Thus, it is important to consider the role of energy content in determining effective mercury exposure even when mercury concentrations on a per-unit mass basis do not differ between species.

  14. Spatial organization of food webs along habitat gradients at deep-sea hydrothermal vents on Axial Volcano, Northeast Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levesque, Christian; Kim Juniper, S.; Limén, Helene

    2006-04-01

    Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are characterized by steep spatial gradients and high temporal variability in habitat conditions. This leads to the organization of species distribution along spatial habitat gradients, which may constrain food resource utilization and food web structure. We conducted a stable-isotope-based study to test the hypothesis that food resource utilization is constrained by spatial habitat variability at diffuse hydrothermal vents on Axial Volcano, Northeast Pacific. Our study included the ten most biomass-prominent species and considered the temporal change in food web structure at recently created vent sites during three consecutive years. We related species average stable isotopic composition to their position between the center and the periphery of vent sites, using previously published data. Species spread widely along the δ13C axis, and showed a small variability in δ15N. This indicates that most species partition food resources between isotopically different carbon sources, and that they are not organized along predator-prey trophic chains. Particulate organic matter (POM) stable isotopic composition from a concomitant study corresponds to the signature of the expected diet for most organisms. Species average δ13C was significantly correlated to their relative position between the center and the periphery of vent sites. We relate this spatial variability in species isotopic composition to variability in the isotopic signature of both dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and POM. This spatial isotopic signal of consumers reveals the spatial structuring of food (POM) production and its consumption by the fauna. Accrual of species during the development of diffuse sites increased the inter-specific spread in δ13C, but did not increase the range in δ15N. Our results show that the spatial organization of species distribution results in a fragmented food web where species partition POM food resources according to their position in space

  15. Dispersed oil disrupts microbial pathways in pelagic food webs.

    PubMed

    Ortmann, Alice C; Anders, Jennifer; Shelton, Naomi; Gong, Limin; Moss, Anthony G; Condon, Robert H

    2012-01-01

    Most of the studies of microbial processes in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill focused on the deep water plume, and not on the surface communities. The effects of the crude oil and the application of dispersants on the coastal microbial food web in the northern Gulf of Mexico have not been well characterized even though these regions support much of the fisheries production in the Gulf. A mesocosm experiment was carried out to determine how the microbial community off the coast of Alabama may have responded to the influx of surface oil and dispersants. While the addition of glucose or oil alone resulted in an increase in the biomass of ciliates, suggesting transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels was likely; a different effect was seen in the presence of dispersant. The addition of dispersant or dispersed oil resulted in an increase in the biomass of heterotrophic prokaryotes, but a significant inhibition of ciliates, suggesting a reduction in grazing and decrease in transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels. Similar patterns were observed in two separate experiments with different starting nutrient regimes and microbial communities suggesting that the addition of dispersant and dispersed oil to the northern Gulf of Mexico waters in 2010 may have reduced the flow of carbon to higher trophic levels, leading to a decrease in the production of zooplankton and fish on the Alabama shelf. PMID:22860136

  16. Dispersed oil disrupts microbial pathways in pelagic food webs.

    PubMed

    Ortmann, Alice C; Anders, Jennifer; Shelton, Naomi; Gong, Limin; Moss, Anthony G; Condon, Robert H

    2012-01-01

    Most of the studies of microbial processes in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill focused on the deep water plume, and not on the surface communities. The effects of the crude oil and the application of dispersants on the coastal microbial food web in the northern Gulf of Mexico have not been well characterized even though these regions support much of the fisheries production in the Gulf. A mesocosm experiment was carried out to determine how the microbial community off the coast of Alabama may have responded to the influx of surface oil and dispersants. While the addition of glucose or oil alone resulted in an increase in the biomass of ciliates, suggesting transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels was likely; a different effect was seen in the presence of dispersant. The addition of dispersant or dispersed oil resulted in an increase in the biomass of heterotrophic prokaryotes, but a significant inhibition of ciliates, suggesting a reduction in grazing and decrease in transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels. Similar patterns were observed in two separate experiments with different starting nutrient regimes and microbial communities suggesting that the addition of dispersant and dispersed oil to the northern Gulf of Mexico waters in 2010 may have reduced the flow of carbon to higher trophic levels, leading to a decrease in the production of zooplankton and fish on the Alabama shelf.

  17. Dispersed Oil Disrupts Microbial Pathways in Pelagic Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Ortmann, Alice C.; Anders, Jennifer; Shelton, Naomi; Gong, Limin; Moss, Anthony G.; Condon, Robert H.

    2012-01-01

    Most of the studies of microbial processes in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill focused on the deep water plume, and not on the surface communities. The effects of the crude oil and the application of dispersants on the coastal microbial food web in the northern Gulf of Mexico have not been well characterized even though these regions support much of the fisheries production in the Gulf. A mesocosm experiment was carried out to determine how the microbial community off the coast of Alabama may have responded to the influx of surface oil and dispersants. While the addition of glucose or oil alone resulted in an increase in the biomass of ciliates, suggesting transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels was likely; a different effect was seen in the presence of dispersant. The addition of dispersant or dispersed oil resulted in an increase in the biomass of heterotrophic prokaryotes, but a significant inhibition of ciliates, suggesting a reduction in grazing and decrease in transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels. Similar patterns were observed in two separate experiments with different starting nutrient regimes and microbial communities suggesting that the addition of dispersant and dispersed oil to the northern Gulf of Mexico waters in 2010 may have reduced the flow of carbon to higher trophic levels, leading to a decrease in the production of zooplankton and fish on the Alabama shelf. PMID:22860136

  18. Transfer of heavy metals through terrestrial food webs: a review.

    PubMed

    Gall, Jillian E; Boyd, Robert S; Rajakaruna, Nishanta

    2015-04-01

    Heavy metals are released into the environment by both anthropogenic and natural sources. Highly reactive and often toxic at low concentrations, they may enter soils and groundwater, bioaccumulate in food webs, and adversely affect biota. Heavy metals also may remain in the environment for years, posing long-term risks to life well after point sources of heavy metal pollution have been removed. In this review, we compile studies of the community-level effects of heavy metal pollution, including heavy metal transfer from soils to plants, microbes, invertebrates, and to both small and large mammals (including humans). Many factors contribute to heavy metal accumulation in animals including behavior, physiology, and diet. Biotic effects of heavy metals are often quite different for essential and non-essential heavy metals, and vary depending on the specific metal involved. They also differ for adapted organisms, including metallophyte plants and heavy metal-tolerant insects, which occur in naturally high-metal habitats (such as serpentine soils) and have adaptations that allow them to tolerate exposure to relatively high concentrations of some heavy metals. Some metallophyte plants are hyperaccumulators of certain heavy metals and new technologies using them to clean metal-contaminated soil (phytoextraction) may offer economically attractive solutions to some metal pollution challenges. These new technologies provide incentive to catalog and protect the unique biodiversity of habitats that have naturally high levels of heavy metals.

  19. Food webs in relation to variation in the environment and species assemblage: a multivariate approach.

    PubMed

    Schriever, Tiffany A

    2015-01-01

    The abiotic environment has strong influences on the growth, survival, behavior, and ecology of aquatic organisms. Biotic interactions and species life histories interact with abiotic factors to structure the food web. One measure of food-web structure is food-chain length. Several hypotheses predict a linear relationship between one environmental variable (e.g., disturbance or ecosystem size) and food-chain length. However, many abiotic and biotic variables interact in diverse ways to structure a community, and may affect other measures of food web structure besides food-chain length. This study took a multivariate approach to test the influence of several important environmental variables on four food-web characteristics measured in nine ponds along a hydroperiod gradient over two years. This approach allowed for testing the ecosystem size and dynamic constraints hypotheses while in context of other possibly interacting environmental variables. The relationship between amphibian and invertebrate communities and pond habitat variables was assessed to understand the underlying food-web structure. Hydroperiod and pond area had a strong influence on amphibian and invertebrate communities, trophic diversity and δ15N range. The range in δ13C values responded strongly to dissolved oxygen. Food-chain length responded to multiple environmental variables. Invertebrate and amphibian communities were structured by pond hydroperiod which in turn influenced the trophic diversity of the food web. The results of this study suggest food-chain length is influenced by environmental variation and species assemblage and that a multivariate approach may allow us to better understand the dynamics within and across aquatic food webs.

  20. Medium-sized exotic prey create novel food webs: the case of predators and scavengers consuming lagomorphs.

    PubMed

    Barbar, Facundo; Hiraldo, Fernando; Lambertucci, Sergio A

    2016-01-01

    Food web interactions are key to community structure. The introduction of species can be seen as an uncontrolled experiment of the addition of species. Introduced species lead to multiple changes, frequently threatening the native biodiversity. However, little is known about their direct effect on the upper level of the food web. In this study we review empirical data on the predator-prey relationship between the introduced lagomorphs and their consumers, and use meta-analytical tools to quantify the strength of their interactions. We expect that exotic lagomorphs will destabilize food webs, affect ecological processes and compromise the conservation of the invaded regions. We found 156 studies on the diet of 43 species of predators that consume lagomorphs as exotic preys in South America and Oceania. We found an average exotic lagomorphs-predator link of 20% which indicates a strong interaction, given that the average for the strongest links with native prey (when lagomorphs are not included in the predator diet) is about 24%. Additionally, this last link decreases to 17% when lagomorphs are present. When lagomorphs arrive in a new environment they may become the most important resource for predators, producing an unstable equilibrium in the novel food web. Any disruption of this interaction could have catastrophic consequences for the native diversity by directly impacting predators or indirectly impacting native preys by apparent competition. Eradication or any change in their abundances should be carefully considered in conservation actions since those will have great impacts on predator populations and ultimately in the whole communities.

  1. Linking food web functioning and habitat diversity for an ecosystem based management: a Mediterranean lagoon case-study.

    PubMed

    Brigolin, D; Facca, C; Franco, A; Franzoi, P; Pastres, R; Sfriso, A; Sigovini, M; Soldatini, C; Tagliapietra, D; Torricelli, P; Zucchetta, M; Pranovi, F

    2014-06-01

    We propose a modelling approach relating the functioning of a transitional ecosystem with the spatial extension of its habitats. A test case is presented for the lagoon of Venice, discussing the results in the context of the application of current EU directives. The effects on food web functioning due to changes related to manageable and unmanageable drivers were investigated. The modelling procedure involved the use of steady-state food web models and network analysis, respectively applied to estimate the fluxes of energy associated with trophic interactions, and to compute indices of food web functioning. On the long term (hundred years) temporal scale, the model indicated that the expected loss of salt marshes will produce further changes at the system level, with a lagoon showing a decrease in the energy processing efficiency. On the short term scale, simulation results indicated that fishery management accompanied by seagrass restoration measures would produce a slight transition towards a more healthy system, with higher energy cycling, and maintaining a good balance between processing efficiency and resilience. Scenarios presented suggest that the effectiveness of short term management strategies can be better evaluated when contextualized in the long term trends of evolution of a system. We also remark the need for further studying the relationship between habitat diversity and indicators of food web functioning.

  2. Analysis of governmental Web sites on food safety issues: a global perspective.

    PubMed

    Namkung, Young; Almanza, Barbara A

    2006-10-01

    Despite a growing concern over food safety issues, as well as a growing dependence on the Internet as a source of information, little research has been done to examine the presence and relevance of food safety-related information on Web sites. The study reported here conducted Web site analysis in order to examine the current operational status of governmental Web sites on food safety issues. The study also evaluated Web site usability, especially information dimensionalities such as utility, currency, and relevance of content, from the perspective of the English-speaking consumer. Results showed that out of 192 World Health Organization members, 111 countries operated governmental Web sites that provide information about food safety issues. Among 171 searchable Web sites from the 111 countries, 123 Web sites (71.9 percent) were accessible, and 81 of those 123 (65.9 percent) were available in English. The majority of Web sites offered search engine tools and related links for more information, but their availability and utility was limited. In terms of content, 69.9 percent of Web sites offered information on foodborne-disease outbreaks, compared with 31.5 percent that had travel- and health-related information.

  3. Analysis of governmental Web sites on food safety issues: a global perspective.

    PubMed

    Namkung, Young; Almanza, Barbara A

    2006-10-01

    Despite a growing concern over food safety issues, as well as a growing dependence on the Internet as a source of information, little research has been done to examine the presence and relevance of food safety-related information on Web sites. The study reported here conducted Web site analysis in order to examine the current operational status of governmental Web sites on food safety issues. The study also evaluated Web site usability, especially information dimensionalities such as utility, currency, and relevance of content, from the perspective of the English-speaking consumer. Results showed that out of 192 World Health Organization members, 111 countries operated governmental Web sites that provide information about food safety issues. Among 171 searchable Web sites from the 111 countries, 123 Web sites (71.9 percent) were accessible, and 81 of those 123 (65.9 percent) were available in English. The majority of Web sites offered search engine tools and related links for more information, but their availability and utility was limited. In terms of content, 69.9 percent of Web sites offered information on foodborne-disease outbreaks, compared with 31.5 percent that had travel- and health-related information. PMID:17066944

  4. A unifying approach for food webs, phylogeny, social networks, and statistics.

    PubMed

    Chiu, Grace S; Westveld, Anton H

    2011-09-20

    A food web consists of nodes, each consisting of one or more species. The role of each node as predator or prey determines the trophic relations that weave the web. Much effort in trophic food web research is given to understand the connectivity structure, or the nature and degree of dependence among nodes. Social network analysis (SNA) techniques--quantitative methods commonly used in the social sciences to understand network relational structure--have been used for this purpose, although postanalysis effort or biological theory is still required to determine what natural factors contribute to the feeding behavior. Thus, a conventional SNA alone provides limited insight into trophic structure. Here we show that by using novel statistical modeling methodologies to express network links as the random response of within- and internode characteristics (predictors), we gain a much deeper understanding of food web structure and its contributing factors through a unified statistical SNA. We do so for eight empirical food webs: Phylogeny is shown to have nontrivial influence on trophic relations in many webs, and for each web trophic clustering based on feeding activity and on feeding preference can differ substantially. These and other conclusions about network features are purely empirical, based entirely on observed network attributes while accounting for biological information built directly into the model. Thus, statistical SNA techniques, through statistical inference for feeding activity and preference, provide an alternative perspective of trophic clustering to yield comprehensive insight into food web structure.

  5. Plankton food web and its seasonal dynamics in a large monsoonal estuary (Cochin backwaters, India)-significance of mesohaline region.

    PubMed

    Sooria, P M; Jyothibabu, R; Anjusha, A; Vineetha, G; Vinita, J; Lallu, K R; Paul, M; Jagadeesan, L

    2015-07-01

    The paper presents the ecology and dynamics of plankton food web in the Cochin backwaters (CBW), the largest monsoonal estuary along the west coast of India. The data source is a time series measurement carried out in the CBW during the Spring Intermonsoon (March-May) and the Southwest Monsoon (June-September). The plankton food web consisting of autotrophic/heterotrophic picoplankton, autotrophic/heterotrophic nanoplankton, microzooplankton, and mesozooplankton was quantified in relation to the seasonal hydrographical settings in the CBW. The study showed that significant changes in the abundance and dynamics of plankton food web components were governed mostly by the spatial and seasonal changes in hydrography rather than short-term changes induced by tide. During the Spring Intermonsoon, all plankton consumers in the CBW was higher than the Southwest Monsoon, and the trophic interaction was more effective in upstream where there was a close coupling between all prey components and their consumers. During the Southwest Monsoon, on the other hand, the trophic interaction was more effective downstream where the abundance of all plankton consumers was significantly higher than the upstream. Based on statistical analyses NMDS/SIMPROF and RDA, we demarcated the spatial difference/mismatch in the prey and consumer distribution in the CBW and showed that a more efficient plankton food web exists in the mesohaline regions during both seasons. This suggests that a noticeable spatial shift occurs seasonally in the active plankton food web zone in the CBW; it is upstream during the Spring Intermonsoon and downstream during the Southwest Monsoon.

  6. Impact of biodiversity loss on production in complex marine food webs mitigated by prey-release

    PubMed Central

    Fung, Tak; Farnsworth, Keith D.; Reid, David G.; Rossberg, Axel G.

    2015-01-01

    Public concern over biodiversity loss is often rationalized as a threat to ecosystem functioning, but biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) relations are hard to empirically quantify at large scales. We use a realistic marine food-web model, resolving species over five trophic levels, to study how total fish production changes with species richness. This complex model predicts that BEF relations, on average, follow simple Michaelis–Menten curves when species are randomly deleted. These are shaped mainly by release of fish from predation, rather than the release from competition expected from simpler communities. Ordering species deletions by decreasing body mass or trophic level, representing ‘fishing down the food web’, accentuates prey-release effects and results in unimodal relationships. In contrast, simultaneous unselective harvesting diminishes these effects and produces an almost linear BEF relation, with maximum multispecies fisheries yield at ≈40% of initial species richness. These findings have important implications for the valuation of marine biodiversity. PMID:25799523

  7. The impact of in situ Fe fertilisation on the microbial food web in the Southern Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hall, Julie A.; Safi, Karl

    During the Southern Ocean iron release experiment (SOIREE) in February 1999, the composition and dynamics of the microbial food web were studied. SOIREE was a mesoscale experiment with four infusions of Fe into the patch to elevate Fe concentrations inside the patch. During the 13 d experiment, samples were collected from the mixed layer inside and outside the patch for the enumeration of bacteria, picophytoplankton, phyto and heterotrophic nanoflagellates, ciliates, and for estimation of bacterial production and microzooplankton grazing. Inside the patch, bacterial numbers remained constant throughout SOIREE although bacterial production increased three-fold. A strong relationship between the increase in bacterial and primary production suggested that dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen, rather than Fe, potentially limited bacterial growth. The picophytoplankton population, was composed solely of eukaryotic cells and increased three-fold over the first 7 d of the experiment before decreasing to initial concentrations of approximately 4000 cells ml -1. In contrast to the bacterial and picophytoplankton populations, the nanophytoflagellate population increased six-fold in numbers and 23-fold in biomass. This resulted in a three-fold increase in carbon flow through the microbial food web inside the patch by the end of the experiment. The increased carbon flow resulted in a small increase in total microzooplankton biomass. Ciliate abundances tripled and biomass, doubled; however, the ciliate population only contributed 3-10% of the microzooplankton biomass, which was dominated by the heterotrophic nanoflagellate population. The heterotrophic nanoflagellate numbers decreased three-fold by the end of the experiment; however, there was no significant change in biomass throughout the experiment. The changes in the dynamics and structure of the microbial food web during the SOIREE experiment suggest that microzooplankton grazing controlled the bacterial and possibly the

  8. Examining Long-Term Global Climate Change on the Web.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Huntoon, Jacqueline E.; Ridky, Robert K.

    2002-01-01

    Describes a web-based, inquiry-oriented activity that enables students to examine long-term global climate change. Supports instruction in other topics such as population growth. (Contains 34 references.) (DDR)

  9. Reestablishing healthy food retail: changing the landscape of food deserts.

    PubMed

    Karpyn, Allison; Young, Candace; Weiss, Stephanie

    2012-02-01

    The term "food desert" was formally introduced into the lexicon in 1995 and has come to describe areas with limited access to affordable nutritious foods, particularly areas in lower-income neighborhoods. The definition has led to the development of national and regional maps that focus efforts on equity in food access. Recognition of food deserts also marks a strategic change in public health's approach to obesity prevention. Today's emphasis on prevention has shifted away from individual responsibility to the role of the environment in health promotion. A number of solutions are underway to address food deserts, including public–private financing programs, industry commitments, as well as local and regional efforts to put healthy food within reach. The promise of financing programs to facilitate development of healthy food markets in underserved communities is rooted in their potential to alleviate the grocery gap and address underlying environmental contributors to obesity and diet-related diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. As food desert mapping and related interventions expand, there remains a need for ongoing investigation of impacts and the mechanisms by which impacts are achieved.

  10. Reestablishing healthy food retail: changing the landscape of food deserts.

    PubMed

    Karpyn, Allison; Young, Candace; Weiss, Stephanie

    2012-02-01

    The term "food desert" was formally introduced into the lexicon in 1995 and has come to describe areas with limited access to affordable nutritious foods, particularly areas in lower-income neighborhoods. The definition has led to the development of national and regional maps that focus efforts on equity in food access. Recognition of food deserts also marks a strategic change in public health's approach to obesity prevention. Today's emphasis on prevention has shifted away from individual responsibility to the role of the environment in health promotion. A number of solutions are underway to address food deserts, including public–private financing programs, industry commitments, as well as local and regional efforts to put healthy food within reach. The promise of financing programs to facilitate development of healthy food markets in underserved communities is rooted in their potential to alleviate the grocery gap and address underlying environmental contributors to obesity and diet-related diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. As food desert mapping and related interventions expand, there remains a need for ongoing investigation of impacts and the mechanisms by which impacts are achieved. PMID:22799475

  11. Linking Food Webs and Biogeochemical Processes in Wetlands: Insights From Sulfur Isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stricker, C. A.; Guntenspergen, G. R.; Rye, R. O.

    2005-05-01

    To better understand the transfer of nutrients into prairie wetland food webs we have investigated the cycling of S (via S isotope systematics and geochemistry) in a prairie wetland landscape by characterizing sources (ground water, interstitial water, surface water) and processes in a small catchment comprised of four wetlands in eastern South Dakota. We focused on S to derive process information that is not generally available from carbon isotopes alone. The wetlands chosen for study spanned a considerable range in SO4 concentration (0.1-13.6 mM), which corresponded with landscape position. Ground water δ34SSO4 values remained relatively constant (mean = -13.2 per mil) through time. However, δ34SSO4 values of wetland surface waters ranged from -2.9 to -30.0 per mil (CDT) and were negatively correlated with SO4 concentrations (p<0.05). The isotopic variability of surface water SO4 resulted from mixing with re-oxidized sulfides associated with recently flushed wetland soils. The δ34S signatures of wetland primary (Gastropoda: Stagnicola elodes) and secondary (Odonata: Anax sp.) consumers were significantly related to surface water δ34SSO4 values (p<0.05) suggesting that food web components were responding to changes in the isotopic composition of the S source. Both primary and secondary consumer δ34S signatures differed between wetlands (ANOVA, p<0.05). These data illustrate the complexity of S cycling in prairie wetlands and the influence of wetland hydrologic and biogeochemical processes on prairie wetland food webs. Additionally, this work has demonstrated that sulfur isotopes can provide unique source and process information that cannot be derived from traditional carbon and nitrogen isotope studies.

  12. Evidence for the assimilation of ancient glacier organic carbon in a proglacial stream food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fellman, Jason; Hood, Eran; Raymond, Peter A.; Hudson, J.H.; Bozeman, Maura; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.

    2015-01-01

    We used natural abundance δ13C, δ15N, and Δ14C to compare trophic linkages between potential carbon sources (leaf litter, epilithic biofilm, and particulate organic matter) and consumers (aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish) in a nonglacial stream and two reaches of the heavily glaciated Herbert River. We tested the hypothesis that proglacial stream food webs are sustained by organic carbon released from glacial ecosystems. Carbon sources and consumers in the nonglacial stream had carbon isotope values that ranged from -30‰ to -25‰ for δ13C and from -14‰ to 53‰ for Δ14C reflecting a food web sustained mainly on contemporary primary production. In contrast, biofilm in the two glacial stream sites was highly Δ14C-depleted (-215‰ to 175‰) relative to the nonglacial stream consistent with the assimilation of ancient glacier organic carbon. IsoSource modeling showed that in upper Herbert River, macroinvertebrates (Δ14C = -171‰ to 22‰) and juvenile salmonids (Δ14C = −102‰ to 17‰) reflected a feeding history of both biofilm (~ 56%) and leaf litter (~ 40%). We estimate that in upper Herbert River on average 36% of the carbon incorporated into consumer biomass is derived from the glacier ecosystem. Thus, 14C-depleted glacial organic carbon was likely transferred to higher trophic levels through a feeding history of bacterial uptake of dissolved organic carbon and subsequent consumption of 14C-depleted biofilm by invertebrates and ultimately fish. Our findings show that the metazoan food web is sustained in part by glacial organic carbon such that future changes in glacial runoff could influence the stability and trophic structure of proglacial aquatic ecosystems.

  13. Climate change and sustainable food production.

    PubMed

    Smith, Pete; Gregory, Peter J

    2013-02-01

    One of the greatest challenges we face in the twenty-first century is to sustainably feed nine to ten billion people by 2050 while at the same time reducing environmental impact (e.g. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, biodiversity loss, land use change and loss of ecosystem services). To this end, food security must be delivered. According to the United Nations definition, 'food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life'. At the same time as delivering food security, we must also reduce the environmental impact of food production. Future climate change will make an impact upon food production. On the other hand, agriculture contributes up to about 30% of the anthropogenic GHG emissions that drive climate change. The aim of this review is to outline some of the likely impacts of climate change on agriculture, the mitigation measures available within agriculture to reduce GHG emissions and outlines the very significant challenge of feeding nine to ten billion people sustainably under a future climate, with reduced emissions of GHG. Each challenge is in itself enormous, requiring solutions that co-deliver on all aspects. We conclude that the status quo is not an option, and tinkering with the current production systems is unlikely to deliver the food and ecosystems services we need in the future; radical changes in production and consumption are likely to be required over the coming decades.

  14. Applying linear programming to estimate fluxes in ecosystems or food webs: An example from the herpetological assemblage of the freshwater Everglades

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Diffendorfer, James E.; Richards, Paul M.; Dalrymple, George H.; DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2001-01-01

    We present the application of Linear Programming for estimating biomass fluxes in ecosystem and food web models. We use the herpetological assemblage of the Everglades as an example. We developed food web structures for three common Everglades freshwater habitat types: marsh, prairie, and upland. We obtained a first estimate of the fluxes using field data, literature estimates, and professional judgment. Linear programming was used to obtain a consistent and better estimate of the set of fluxes, while maintaining mass balance and minimizing deviations from point estimates. The results support the view that the Everglades is a spatially heterogeneous system, with changing patterns of energy flux, species composition, and biomasses across the habitat types. We show that a food web/ecosystem perspective, combined with Linear Programming, is a robust method for describing food webs and ecosystems that requires minimal data, produces useful post-solution analyses, and generates hypotheses regarding the structure of energy flow in the system.

  15. Energy and nutrient flows connecting coastal wetland food webs to land and lake

    EPA Science Inventory

    Both landscape character and hydrologic forces (principally, tributary discharge and seiches) can influence utilization of externally-derived energy and nutrients in coastal wetland food webs. We quantified the contribution of internal vs external energy and nutrients among wetla...

  16. Integrating Ecosystem Engineering and Food Web Ecology: Testing the Effect of Biogenic Reefs on the Food Web of a Soft-Bottom Intertidal Area

    PubMed Central

    De Smet, Bart; Fournier, Jérôme; De Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2015-01-01

    The potential of ecosystem engineers to modify the structure and dynamics of food webs has recently been hypothesised from a conceptual point of view. Empirical data on the integration of ecosystem engineers and food webs is however largely lacking. This paper investigates the hypothesised link based on a field sampling approach of intertidal biogenic aggregations created by the ecosystem engineer Lanice conchilega (Polychaeta, Terebellidae). The aggregations are known to have a considerable impact on the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of their environment and subsequently on the abundance and biomass of primary food sources and the macrofaunal (i.e. the macro-, hyper- and epibenthos) community. Therefore, we hypothesise that L. conchilega aggregations affect the structure, stability and isotopic niche of the consumer assemblage of a soft-bottom intertidal food web. Primary food sources and the bentho-pelagic consumer assemblage of a L. conchilega aggregation and a control area were sampled on two soft-bottom intertidal areas along the French coast and analysed for their stable isotopes. Despite the structural impacts of the ecosystem engineer on the associated macrofaunal community, the presence of L. conchilega aggregations only has a minor effect on the food web structure of soft-bottom intertidal areas. The isotopic niche width of the consumer communities of the L. conchilega aggregations and control areas are highly similar, implying that consumer taxa do not shift their diet when feeding in a L. conchilega aggregation. Besides, species packing and hence trophic redundancy were not affected, pointing to an unaltered stability of the food web in the presence of L. conchilega. PMID:26496349

  17. Integrating Ecosystem Engineering and Food Web Ecology: Testing the Effect of Biogenic Reefs on the Food Web of a Soft-Bottom Intertidal Area.

    PubMed

    De Smet, Bart; Fournier, Jérôme; De Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2015-01-01

    The potential of ecosystem engineers to modify the structure and dynamics of food webs has recently been hypothesised from a conceptual point of view. Empirical data on the integration of ecosystem engineers and food webs is however largely lacking. This paper investigates the hypothesised link based on a field sampling approach of intertidal biogenic aggregations created by the ecosystem engineer Lanice conchilega (Polychaeta, Terebellidae). The aggregations are known to have a considerable impact on the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of their environment and subsequently on the abundance and biomass of primary food sources and the macrofaunal (i.e. the macro-, hyper- and epibenthos) community. Therefore, we hypothesise that L. conchilega aggregations affect the structure, stability and isotopic niche of the consumer assemblage of a soft-bottom intertidal food web. Primary food sources and the bentho-pelagic consumer assemblage of a L. conchilega aggregation and a control area were sampled on two soft-bottom intertidal areas along the French coast and analysed for their stable isotopes. Despite the structural impacts of the ecosystem engineer on the associated macrofaunal community, the presence of L. conchilega aggregations only has a minor effect on the food web structure of soft-bottom intertidal areas. The isotopic niche width of the consumer communities of the L. conchilega aggregations and control areas are highly similar, implying that consumer taxa do not shift their diet when feeding in a L. conchilega aggregation. Besides, species packing and hence trophic redundancy were not affected, pointing to an unaltered stability of the food web in the presence of L. conchilega.

  18. The bioenergetic consequences of invasive-induced food web disruption to Lake Ontario alewives

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stewart, Thomas J.; O'Gorman, Robert; Sprules, W. Gary; Lantry, B.F.

    2010-01-01

    Alewives Alosa pseudoharengus are the dominant prey fish in Lake Ontario, and their response to ecological change can alter the structure and function of the Lake Ontario food web. Using stochastic population-based bioenergetic models of Lake Ontario alewives for 1987–1991 and 2001–2005, we evaluated changes to alewife production, consumption, and associated bioenergetic ratios after invasive-induced food web disruption. After the disruption, mean biomass of alewives declined from 28.0 to 14.6 g/m2, production declined from 40.8 to 13.6 g·m−2·year−1, and consumption declined from 342.1 to 137.2 g·m−2·year−1, but bootstrapping of error sources suggested that the changes were not statistically significant. Population-based bioenergetic ratios of production to biomass (P/B ratio), total consumption to biomass (Q/B ratio), and production efficiency did not change. Pathways of energy flow measured as prey-group-specific Q/B ratios changed significantly between the two time periods for invasive predatory cladocerans (from 0.6 to 1.3), Mysis diluviana (from 0.4 to 2.5), and other prey (from 0.8 to 0.1), but the observed decline in the zooplankton Q/B ratio (from 10.6 to 5.5) was not significant. Gross production efficiency did not change; values ranged from 8% to 15%. Age-group mean gross conversion efficiency (GCE) declined with age; GCE ranged from 7.5% to 11.0% for yearlings, was approximately 5% for age-2 alewives, and was less than 2% for age-3 and older alewives. The GCE increased significantly between the time periods for yearling alewives. Our analyses support the hypothesis that after 2003, alewives could not sustain their growth while feeding on zooplankton closer to shore. Modeling of observed spatial variation in diet and alternative occupied temperatures demonstrates the potential for reducing consumption by alewives. Our results suggest that Lake Ontario alewives can exploit spatial heterogeneity in resource patches and thermal habitat to

  19. Methane carbon supports aquatic food webs to the fish level.

    PubMed

    Sanseverino, Angela M; Bastviken, David; Sundh, Ingvar; Pickova, Jana; Enrich-Prast, Alex

    2012-01-01

    Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane (CH(4)) are produced by anaerobic mineralization of organic matter in lakes. In spite of extensive freshwater CH(4) emissions, most of the CH(4) is typically oxidized by methane oxidizing bacteria (MOB) before it can reach the lake surface and be emitted to the atmosphere. In turn, it has been shown that the CH(4)-derived biomass of MOB can provide the energy and carbon for zooplankton and macroinvertebrates. In this study, we demonstrate the presence of specific fatty acids synthesized by MOB in fish tissues having low carbon stable isotope ratios. Fish species, zooplankton, macroinvertebrates and the water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes were collected from a shallow lake in Brazil and analyzed for fatty acids (FA) and carbon stable isotope ratios (δ(13)C). The fatty acids 16:1ω8c, 16:1ω8t, 16:1ω6c, 16:1ω5t, 18:1ω8c and 18:1ω8t were used as signature for MOB. The δ(13)C ratios varied from -27.7‰ to -42.0‰ and the contribution of MOB FA ranged from 0.05% to 0.84% of total FA. Organisms with higher total content of MOB FAs presented lower δ(13)C values (i.e. they were more depleted in (13)C), while organisms with lower content of MOB signature FAs showed higher δ(13)C values. An UPGMA cluster analysis was carried out to distinguish grouping of organisms in relation to their MOB FA contents. This combination of stable isotope and fatty acid tracers provides new evidence that assimilation of methane-derived carbon can be an important carbon source for the whole aquatic food web, up to the fish level.

  20. The importance of landscape and spatial structure for hymenopteran-based food webs in an agro-ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Fabian, Yvonne; Sandau, Nadine; Bruggisser, Odile T; Aebi, Alex; Kehrli, Patrik; Rohr, Rudolf P; Naisbit, Russell E; Bersier, Louis-Félix

    2013-11-01

    1. Understanding the environmental factors that structure biodiversity and food webs among communities is central to assess and mitigate the impact of landscape changes. 2. Wildflower strips are ecological compensation areas established in farmland to increase pollination services and biological control of crop pests and to conserve insect diversity. They are arranged in networks in order to favour high species richness and abundance of the fauna. 3. We describe results from experimental wildflower strips in a fragmented agricultural landscape, comparing the importance of landscape, of spatial arrangement and of vegetation on the diversity and abundance of trap-nesting bees, wasps and their enemies, and the structure of their food webs. 4. The proportion of forest cover close to the wildflower strips and the landscape heterogeneity stood out as the most influential landscape elements, resulting in a more complex trap-nest community with higher abundance and richness of hosts, and with more links between species in the food webs and a higher diversity of interactions. We disentangled the underlying mechanisms for variation in these quantitative food web metrics. 5. We conclude that in order to increase the diversity and abundance of pollinators and biological control agents and to favour a potentially stable community of cavity-nesting hymenoptera in wildflower strips, more investment is needed in the conservation and establishment of forest habitats within agro-ecosystems, as a reservoir of beneficial insect populations.

  1. Effects of Seasonal and Spatial Differences in Food Webs on Mercury Concentrations in Fish in the Everglades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kendall, C.; Bemis, B. E.; Wankel, S. D.; Rawlik, P. S.; Lange, T.; Krabbenhoft, D. P.

    2002-05-01

    A clear understanding of the aquatic food web is essential for determining the entry points and subsequent biomagnification pathways of contaminants such as methyl-mercury (MeHg) in the Everglades. Anthropogenic changes in nutrients can significantly affect the entry points of MeHg by changing food web structure from one dominated by algal productivity to one dominated by macrophytes and associated microbial activity. These changes in the base of the food web can also influence the distribution of animals within the ecosystem, and subsequently the bioaccumulation of MeHg up the food chain. As part of several collaborations with local and other federal agencies, more than 7000 Everglades samples were collected in 1995-99, and analysed for d13C and d15N. Many organisms were also analysed for d34S, gut contents, total Hg, and MeHg. Carbon isotopes effectively distinguish between two main types of food webs: ones where algae is the dominant base of the food web, which are characteristic of relatively pristine marsh sites with long hydroperiods, and ones where macrophyte debris appears to be a significant source of nutrients, which are apparently characteristic of shorter hydroperiod sites, and nutrient-impacted marshes and canals. Many organisms show significant (5-12%) spatial and temporal differences in d13C and d15N values across the Everglades. These differences may reflect site and season-specific differences in the relative importance of algae vs. macrophyte debris to the food web. However, there is a lack of evidence that these sites otherwise differ in food chain length (as determined by d15N values). This conclusion is generally supported by gut contents and mercury data. Furthermore, there are no statistically significant differences between the Delta d15N (predator-algae) values at pristine marsh, nutrient-impacted marsh, or canal sites. The main conclusions from this preliminary comparison of gut contents, stable isotope, and Hg data are: (1) there is

  2. Food web topology and parasites in the pelagic zone of a subarctic lake

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amundsen, P.-A.; Lafferty, K.D.; Knudsen, R.; Primicerio, R.; Klemetsen, A.; Kuris, A.M.

    2009-01-01

    Parasites permeate trophic webs with their often complex life cycles, but few studies have included parasitism in food web analyses. Here we provide a highly resolved food web from the pelagic zone of a subarctic lake and explore how the incorporation of parasites alters the topology of the web. 2. Parasites used hosts at all trophic levels and increased both food-chain lengths and the total number of trophic levels. Their inclusion in the network analyses more than doubled the number of links and resulted in an increase in important food-web characteristics such as linkage density and connectance. 3. More than half of the parasite taxa were trophically transmitted, exploiting hosts at multiple trophic levels and thus increasing the degree of omnivory in the trophic web. 4. For trophically transmitted parasites, the number of parasite-host links exhibited a positive correlation with the linkage density of the host species, whereas no such relationship was seen for nontrophically transmitted parasites. Our findings suggest that the linkage density of free-living species affects their exposure to trophically transmitted parasites, which may be more likely to adopt highly connected species as hosts during the evolution of complex life cycles. 5. The study supports a prominent role for parasites in ecological networks and demonstrates that their incorporation may substantially alter considerations of food-web structure and functioning. ?? 2009 British Ecological Society.

  3. Food web topology and parasites in the pelagic zone of a subarctic lake.

    PubMed

    Amundsen, Per-Arne; Lafferty, Kevin D; Knudsen, Rune; Primicerio, Raul; Klemetsen, Anders; Kuris, Armand M

    2009-05-01

    1. Parasites permeate trophic webs with their often complex life cycles, but few studies have included parasitism in food web analyses. Here we provide a highly resolved food web from the pelagic zone of a subarctic lake and explore how the incorporation of parasites alters the topology of the web. 2. Parasites used hosts at all trophic levels and increased both food-chain lengths and the total number of trophic levels. Their inclusion in the network analyses more than doubled the number of links and resulted in an increase in important food-web characteristics such as linkage density and connectance. 3. More than half of the parasite taxa were trophically transmitted, exploiting hosts at multiple trophic levels and thus increasing the degree of omnivory in the trophic web. 4. For trophically transmitted parasites, the number of parasite-host links exhibited a positive correlation with the linkage density of the host species, whereas no such relationship was seen for nontrophically transmitted parasites. Our findings suggest that the linkage density of free-living species affects their exposure to trophically transmitted parasites, which may be more likely to adopt highly connected species as hosts during the evolution of complex life cycles. 5. The study supports a prominent role for parasites in ecological networks and demonstrates that their incorporation may substantially alter considerations of food-web structure and functioning.

  4. Disentangling trophic relationships in a High Arctic tundra ecosystem through food web modeling.

    PubMed

    Legagneux, P; Gauthier, G; Berteaux, D; Bêty, J; Cadieux, M C; Bilodeau, F; Bolduc, E; McKinnon, L; Tarroux, A; Therrien, J F; Morissette, L; Krebs, C J

    2012-07-01

    Determining the manner in which food webs will respond to environmental changes is difficult because the relative importance of top-down vs. bottom-up forces in controlling ecosystems is still debated. This is especially true in the Arctic tundra where, despite relatively simple food webs, it is still unclear which forces dominate in this ecosystem. Our primary goal was to assess the extent to which a tundra food web was dominated by plant-herbivore or predator-prey interactions. Based on a 17-year (1993-2009) study of terrestrial wildlife on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada, we developed trophic mass balance models to address this question. Snow Geese were the dominant herbivores in this ecosystem, followed by two sympatric lemming species (brown and collared lemmings). Arctic foxes, weasels, and several species of birds of prey were the dominant predators. Results of our trophic models encompassing 19 functional groups showed that <10% of the annual primary production was consumed by herbivores in most years despite the presence of a large Snow Goose colony, but that 20-100% of the annual herbivore production was consumed by predators. The impact of herbivores on vegetation has also weakened over time, probably due to an increase in primary production. The impact of predators was highest on lemmings, intermediate on passerines, and lowest on geese and shorebirds, but it varied with lemming abundance. Predation of collared lemmings exceeded production in most years and may explain why this species remained at low density. In contrast, the predation rate on brown lemmings varied with prey density and may have contributed to the high-amplitude, periodic fluctuations in the abundance of this species. Our analysis provided little evidence that herbivores are limited by primary production on Bylot Island. In contrast, we measured strong predator-prey interactions, which supports the hypothesis that this food web is primarily controlled by top-down forces. The presence of

  5. Interaction diversity within quantified insect food webs in restored and adjacent intensively managed meadows.

    PubMed

    Albrecht, Matthias; Duelli, Peter; Schmid, Bernhard; Müller, Christine B

    2007-09-01

    1. We studied the community and food-web structure of trap-nesting insects in restored meadows and at increasing distances within intensively managed grassland at 13 sites in Switzerland to test if declining species diversity correlates with declining interaction diversity and changes in food-web structure. 2. We analysed 49 quantitative food webs consisting of a total of 1382 trophic interactions involving 39 host/prey insect species and 14 parasitoid/predator insect species. Species richness and abundance of three functional groups, bees and wasps as the lower trophic level and natural enemies as the higher trophic level, were significantly higher in restored than in adjacent intensively managed meadows. Diversity and abundance of specific trophic interactions also declined from restored to intensively managed meadows. 3. The proportion of attacked brood cells and the mortality of bees and wasps due to natural enemies were significantly higher in restored than in intensively managed meadows. Bee abundance and the rate of attacked brood cells of bees declined with increasing distance from restored meadows. These findings indicate that interaction diversity declines more rapidly than species diversity in our study system. 4. Quantitative measures of food-web structure (linkage density, interaction diversity, interaction evenness and compartment diversity) were higher in restored than in intensively managed meadows. This was reflected in a higher mean number of host/prey species per consumer species (degree of generalism) in restored than in intensively managed meadows. 5. The higher insect species and interaction diversity was related to higher plant species richness in restored than in intensively managed meadows. In particular, bees and natural enemies reacted positively to increased plant diversity. 6. Our findings provide empirical evidence for the theoretical prediction that decreasing species richness at lower trophic levels should reduce species richness at

  6. Disentangling trophic relationships in a High Arctic tundra ecosystem through food web modeling.

    PubMed

    Legagneux, P; Gauthier, G; Berteaux, D; Bêty, J; Cadieux, M C; Bilodeau, F; Bolduc, E; McKinnon, L; Tarroux, A; Therrien, J F; Morissette, L; Krebs, C J

    2012-07-01

    Determining the manner in which food webs will respond to environmental changes is difficult because the relative importance of top-down vs. bottom-up forces in controlling ecosystems is still debated. This is especially true in the Arctic tundra where, despite relatively simple food webs, it is still unclear which forces dominate in this ecosystem. Our primary goal was to assess the extent to which a tundra food web was dominated by plant-herbivore or predator-prey interactions. Based on a 17-year (1993-2009) study of terrestrial wildlife on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada, we developed trophic mass balance models to address this question. Snow Geese were the dominant herbivores in this ecosystem, followed by two sympatric lemming species (brown and collared lemmings). Arctic foxes, weasels, and several species of birds of prey were the dominant predators. Results of our trophic models encompassing 19 functional groups showed that <10% of the annual primary production was consumed by herbivores in most years despite the presence of a large Snow Goose colony, but that 20-100% of the annual herbivore production was consumed by predators. The impact of herbivores on vegetation has also weakened over time, probably due to an increase in primary production. The impact of predators was highest on lemmings, intermediate on passerines, and lowest on geese and shorebirds, but it varied with lemming abundance. Predation of collared lemmings exceeded production in most years and may explain why this species remained at low density. In contrast, the predation rate on brown lemmings varied with prey density and may have contributed to the high-amplitude, periodic fluctuations in the abundance of this species. Our analysis provided little evidence that herbivores are limited by primary production on Bylot Island. In contrast, we measured strong predator-prey interactions, which supports the hypothesis that this food web is primarily controlled by top-down forces. The presence of

  7. Climate-driven warming during spring destabilises a Daphnia population: a mechanistic food web approach.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Annekatrin; Benndorf, Jürgen

    2007-03-01

    Temperature-driven changes in interactions between populations are crucial to the estimation of the impact of global warming on aquatic food webs. We analysed inter-annual variability in two data sets from Bautzen reservoir, Germany. In a long-term data set (1981-1999) we examined the pelagic phenology of Daphnia galeata, a keystone species, the invertebrate predator Leptodora kindtii, phytoplankton and Secchi depth in relation to water temperature and the North Atlantic Oscillation index. In a short-term data set (1995-1998) we examined food web relations, particularly the consumption of D. galeata by young-of-the-year (YOY) percids and L. kindtii and rates of population change of D. galeata (abundance, recruitment pattern and non-consumptive mortality). The start of the clear-water stage (CWS) was correlated with winter temperatures. It started 5.8 days earlier per degree warming after warm winters (mean January-March temperature>or=2.5 degrees C) compared to cold winters (mean temperature<2.5 degrees C). However, the end of the CWS remained relatively constant. Predation by L. kindtii and YOY percids on D. galeata started distinctly earlier, i.e. by 13.0 and 6.5 days per degree warming, respectively, in years when the average May temperature was high (>or=14 degrees C) compared to years when it was low (<14 degrees C). Significant reductions of Daphnia abundance in midsummer occurred only in years in which the mean May temperature exceeded 14 degrees C. This temperature regime resulted in a match of over-exploitation of food resources by Daphnia during the CWS and strong predation by YOY percids and L. kindtii. Consumptive mortality increased at higher rates with a rise in temperature than net recruitment, resulting in lower Daphnia densities at the end of the CWS. Our data suggest that even low warming by 1.7 degrees C during a short, but critical seasonal period, resulting in the coincidence of two or more factors adversely affecting a keystone species, such

  8. From the Cover: Ecological community description using the food web, species abundance, and body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, Joel E.; Jonsson, Tomas; Carpenter, Stephen R.

    2003-02-01

    Measuring the numerical abundance and average body size of individuals of each species in an ecological community's food web reveals new patterns and illuminates old ones. This approach is illustrated using data from the pelagic community of a small lake: Tuesday Lake, Michigan, United States. Body mass varies almost 12 orders of magnitude. Numerical abundance varies almost 10 orders of magnitude. Biomass abundance (average body mass times numerical abundance) varies only 5 orders of magnitude. A new food web graph, which plots species and trophic links in the plane spanned by body mass and numerical abundance, illustrates the nearly inverse relationship between body mass and numerical abundance, as well as the pattern of energy flow in the community. Species with small average body mass occur low in the food web of Tuesday Lake and are numerically abundant. Larger-bodied species occur higher in the food web and are numerically rarer. Average body size explains more of the variation in numerical abundance than does trophic height. The trivariate description of an ecological community by using the food web, average body sizes, and numerical abundance includes many well studied bivariate and univariate relationships based on subsets of these three variables. We are not aware of any single community for which all of these relationships have been analyzed simultaneously. Our approach demonstrates the connectedness of ecological patterns traditionally treated as independent. Moreover, knowing the food web gives new insight into the disputed form of the allometric relationship between body mass and abundance.

  9. Robustness of empirical food webs with varying consumer's sensitivities to loss of resources.

    PubMed

    Bellingeri, Michele; Vincenzi, Simone

    2013-09-21

    Food web responses to species loss have been mostly studied in binary food webs, thus without accounting for the amount of energy transferred in consumer-resource interactions. We introduce an energetic criterion, called extinction threshold, for which a species goes secondarily extinct when a certain fraction of its incoming energy is lost. We study the robustness to random node loss of 10 food webs based on empirically-derived weightings. We use different extinction scenarios (random removal and from most- to least-connected species), and we simulate 10(5) replicates for each extinction threshold to account for stochasticity of extinction dynamics. We quantified robustness on the basis of how many additional species (i.e. secondary extinctions) were lost after the direct removal of species (i.e. primary extinctions). For all food webs, the expected robustness linearly decreases with extinction threshold, although a large variance in robustness is observed. The sensitivity of robustness to variations in extinction threshold increases with food web species richness and quantitative unweighted link density, while we observed a nonlinear relationship when the predictor is food web connectance and no relationship with the proportion of autotrophs.

  10. Does foraging adaptation create the positive complexity-stability relationship in realistic food-web structure?

    PubMed

    Kondoh, Michio

    2006-02-01

    The adaptive food-web hypothesis suggests that an adaptive foraging switch inverses the classically negative complexity-stability relationships of food webs into positive ones, providing a possible resolution for the long-standing paradox of how populations persist in a complex natural food web. However, its applicability to natural ecosystems has been questioned, because the positive relationship does not emerge when a niche model, a realistic "benchmark" of food-web models, is used. I hypothesize that, in the niche model, increasing connectance influences the fraction of basal species to destabilize the system and this masks the inversion of the negative complexity-stability relationship in the presence of adaptive foraging. A model analysis shows that, if this confounding effect is eliminated, then, even in a niche model, a population is more likely to persist in a more complex food web. This result supports the robustness of adaptive food-web hypothesis and reveals the condition in which the hypothesis should be tested.

  11. Development of a multichemical food web model: application to PBDEs in Lake Ellasjoen, Bear Island, Norway.

    PubMed

    Gandhi, Nilima; Bhavsar, Satyendra P; Gewurtz, Sarah B; Diamond, Miriam L; Evenset, Anita; Christensen, Guttorm N; Gregor, Dennis

    2006-08-01

    A multichemical food web model has been developed to estimate the biomagnification of interconverting chemicals in aquatic food webs. We extended a fugacity-based food web model for single chemicals to account for reversible and irreversible biotransformation among a parent chemical and transformation products, by simultaneously solving mass balance equations of the chemicals using a matrix solution. The model can be applied to any number of chemicals and organisms or taxonomic groups in a food web. The model was illustratively applied to four PBDE congeners, BDE-47, -99, -100, and -153, in the food web of Lake Ellasjøen, Bear Island, Norway. In Ellasjøen arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), the multichemical model estimated PBDE biotransformation from higher to lower brominated congeners and improved the correspondence between estimated and measured concentrations in comparison to estimates from the single-chemical food web model. The underestimation of BDE-47, even after considering bioformation due to biotransformation of the otherthree congeners, suggests its formation from additional biotransformation pathways not considered in this application. The model estimates approximate values for congener-specific biotransformation half-lives of 5.7,0.8,1.14, and 0.45 years for BDE-47, -99, -100, and -153, respectively, in large arctic char (S. alpinus) of Lake Ellasjøen. PMID:16913129

  12. Incorporation of an invasive plant into a native insect herbivore food web

    PubMed Central

    Santos Pimenta, Lúcia P.; Lammers, Youri; Steenbergen, Peter J.; Flohil, Marco; Beveridge, Nils G.P.; van Duijn, Pieter T.; Meulblok, Marjolein M.; Sosef, Nils; van de Ven, Robin; Werring, Ralf; Beentjes, Kevin K.; Meijer, Kim; Vos, Rutger A.; Vrieling, Klaas; Gravendeel, Barbara; Choi, Young; Verpoorte, Robert; Smit, Chris; Beukeboom, Leo W.

    2016-01-01

    The integration of invasive species into native food webs represent multifarious dynamics of ecological and evolutionary processes. We document incorporation of Prunus serotina (black cherry) into native insect food webs. We find that P. serotina harbours a herbivore community less dense but more diverse than its native relative, P. padus (bird cherry), with similar proportions of specialists and generalists. While herbivory on P. padus remained stable over the past century, that on P. serotina gradually doubled. We show that P. serotina may have evolved changes in investment in cyanogenic glycosides compared with its native range. In the leaf beetle Gonioctena quinquepunctata, recently shifted from native Sorbus aucuparia to P. serotina, we find divergent host preferences on Sorbus- versus Prunus-derived populations, and weak host-specific differentiation among 380 individuals genotyped for 119 SNP loci. We conclude that evolutionary processes may generate a specialized herbivore community on an invasive plant, allowing prognoses of reduced invasiveness over time. On the basis of the results presented here, we would like to caution that manual control might have the adverse effect of a slowing down of processes of adaptation, and a delay in the decline of the invasive character of P. serotina. PMID:27190702

  13. An indicator-based evaluation of Black Sea food web dynamics during 1960-2000

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akoglu, Ekin; Salihoglu, Baris; Libralato, Simone; Oguz, Temel; Solidoro, Cosimo

    2014-06-01

    Four Ecopath mass-balance models were implemented for evaluating the structure and function of the Black Sea ecosystem using several ecological indicators during four distinctive periods (1960s, 1980-1987, 1988-1994 and 1995-2000). The results exemplify how the Black Sea ecosystem structure started to change after the 1960s as a result of a series of trophic transformations, i.e., shifts in the energy flow pathways through the food web. These transformations were initiated by anthropogenic factors, such as eutrophication and overfishing, that led to the transfer of large quantities of energy to the trophic dead-end species, which had no natural predators in the ecosystem, i.e., jellyfish whose biomass increased from 0.03 g C m- 2 in 1960-1969 to 0.933 g C m- 2 in 1988-1994. Concurrently, an alternative short pathway for energy transfer was formed that converted significant amounts of system production back to detritus. This decreased the transfer efficiency of energy flow from the primary producers to the higher trophic levels from 9% in the 1960s to 3% between 1980 and 1987. We conclude that the anchovy stock collapse and successful establishment of the alien comb-jelly Mnemiopsis in 1989 were rooted in the trophic interactions in the food web, all of which were exacerbated because of the long-term establishment of a combination of anthropogenic stressors.

  14. Predator richness has no effect in a diverse marine food web.

    PubMed

    O'Connor, Mary I; Bruno, John F

    2009-07-01

    1. In many ecosystems, predator abundance, composition and diversity vary naturally among seasons and habitats. In addition, predator assemblages are changing due to overharvesting, habitat destruction and species invasions. 2. Predator species composition and richness can influence prey community structure and these effects can cascade to influence plant abundance and composition. 3. To test the effects of predator presence, composition and species richness on prey abundance, species richness and composition, we conducted three experiments in a subtidal marine food web. Experimental food webs were drawn from species pools of 5-7 predator species, 19-52 prey species, benthic micro-algae and 5 macro-algae. 4. Predators reduced prey abundance in the mesocosm experiment, but this effect was diminished or absent in field experiments. Predator species differed in their effects on prey, but we found no effect of predator richness (via complementarity or selection) on any aspect of prey community structure. 5. The absence of a predator richness effect could be due to several factors including potentially opposing effects of individual predator species, intraguild predation, or greater importance of colonization relative to competition in structuring prey assemblages. Although predators can have strong top-down effects in this system, selection or resource-use complementarity among predators do not affect prey community structure.

  15. Incorporation of an invasive plant into a native insect herbivore food web.

    PubMed

    Schilthuizen, Menno; Santos Pimenta, Lúcia P; Lammers, Youri; Steenbergen, Peter J; Flohil, Marco; Beveridge, Nils G P; van Duijn, Pieter T; Meulblok, Marjolein M; Sosef, Nils; van de Ven, Robin; Werring, Ralf; Beentjes, Kevin K; Meijer, Kim; Vos, Rutger A; Vrieling, Klaas; Gravendeel, Barbara; Choi, Young; Verpoorte, Robert; Smit, Chris; Beukeboom, Leo W

    2016-01-01

    The integration of invasive species into native food webs represent multifarious dynamics of ecological and evolutionary processes. We document incorporation of Prunus serotina (black cherry) into native insect food webs. We find that P. serotina harbours a herbivore community less dense but more diverse than its native relative, P. padus (bird cherry), with similar proportions of specialists and generalists. While herbivory on P. padus remained stable over the past century, that on P. serotina gradually doubled. We show that P. serotina may have evolved changes in investment in cyanogenic glycosides compared with its native range. In the leaf beetle Gonioctena quinquepunctata, recently shifted from native Sorbus aucuparia to P. serotina, we find divergent host preferences on Sorbus- versus Prunus-derived populations, and weak host-specific differentiation among 380 individuals genotyped for 119 SNP loci. We conclude that evolutionary processes may generate a specialized herbivore community on an invasive plant, allowing prognoses of reduced invasiveness over time. On the basis of the results presented here, we would like to caution that manual control might have the adverse effect of a slowing down of processes of adaptation, and a delay in the decline of the invasive character of P. serotina. PMID:27190702

  16. Dynamically Coupled Food-web and Hydrodynamic Modeling with ADH-CASM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piercy, C.; Swannack, T. M.

    2012-12-01

    Oysters and freshwater mussels are "ecological engineers," modifying the local water quality by filtering zooplankton and other suspended particulate matter from the water column and flow hydraulics by impinging on the near-bed flow environment. The success of sessile, benthic invertebrates such as oysters depends on environmental factors including but not limited to temperature, salinity, and flow regime. Typically food-web and other types of ecological models use flow and water quality data as direct input without regard to the feedback between the ecosystem and the physical environment. The USACE-ERDC has developed a coupled hydrodynamic-ecological modeling approach that dynamically couples a 2-D hydrodynamic and constituent transport model, Adaptive Hydraulics (ADH), with a bioenergetics food-web model, the Comprehensive Aquatics Systems Model (CASM), which captures the dynamic feedback between aquatic ecological systems and the environment. We present modeling results from restored oyster reefs in the Great Wicomico River on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, which quantify ecosystem services such as the influence of the benthic ecosystem on water quality. Preliminary results indicate that while the influence of oyster reefs on bulk flow dynamics is limited due to the localized influence of oyster reefs, large reefs and the associated benthic ecosystem can create measurable changes in the concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon in the areas around reefs. We also present a sensitivity analysis to quantify the relative sensitivity of the coupled ADH-CASM model to both hydrodynamic and ecological parameter choice.

  17. Stable nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids reveals food web structure in stream ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Ishikawa, Naoto F; Kato, Yoshikazu; Togashi, Hiroyuki; Yoshimura, Mayumi; Yoshimizu, Chikage; Okuda, Noboru; Tayasu, Ichiro

    2014-07-01

    The stable N isotopic composition of individual amino acids (SIAA) has recently been used to estimate trophic positions (TPs) of animals in several simple food chain systems. However, it is unknown whether the SIAA is applicable to more complex food web analysis. In this study we measured the SIAA of stream macroinvertebrates, fishes, and their potential food sources (periphyton and leaf litter of terrestrial C3 plants) collected from upper and lower sites in two streams having contrasting riparian landscapes. The stable N isotope ratios of glutamic acid and phenylalanine confirmed that for primary producers (periphyton and C3 litter) the TP was 1, and for primary consumers (e.g., mayfly and caddisfly larvae) it was 2. We built a two-source mixing model to estimate the relative contributions of aquatic and terrestrial sources to secondary and higher consumers (e.g., stonefly larva and fishes) prior to the TP calculation. The estimated TPs (2.3-3.5) roughly corresponded to their omnivorous and carnivorous feeding habits, respectively. We found that the SIAA method offers substantial advantages over traditional bulk method for food web analysis because it defines the food web structure based on the metabolic pathway of amino groups, and can be used to estimate food web structure under conditions where the bulk method cannot be used. Our result provides evidence that the SIAA method is applicable to the analysis of complex food webs, where heterogeneous resources are mixed. PMID:24719209

  18. The role of microorganisms in a planktonic food web of a floodplain lake.

    PubMed

    Segovia, Bianca Trevizan; Pereira, Danielle Goeldner; Bini, Luis Mauricio; de Meira, Bianca Ramos; Nishida, Verônica Sayuri; Lansac-Tôha, Fabio Amodêo; Velho, Luiz Felipe Machado

    2015-02-01

    Food webs include complex ecological interactions that define the flow of matter and energy, and are fundamental in understanding the functioning of an ecosystem. Temporal variations in the densities of communities belonging to the planktonic food web (i.e., microbial: bacteria, flagellate, and ciliate; and grazing: zooplankton and phytoplankton) were investigated, aiming to clarify the interactions between these organisms and the dynamics of the planktonic food web in a floodplain lake. We hypothesized that hydrological pulse determines the path of matter and energy flow through the planktonic food web of this floodplain lake. Data were collected monthly from March 2007 to February 2008 at three different sites in Guaraná Lake (Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil). The path analysis provided evidence that the dynamics of the planktonic food web was strongly influenced by the hydrological pulse. The high-water period favored interactions among the organisms of the microbial loop, rather than their relationships with zooplankton and phytoplankton. Therefore, in this period, the strong interaction among the organisms of the grazing food chain suggests that the microbial loop functions as a sink of matter and energy. In turn, in the low-water period, higher primary productivity appeared to favor different interactions between the components of the grazing food chain and microorganisms, which would function as a link to the higher trophic levels. PMID:25213653

  19. Trophic transfer of metals along freshwater food webs: Evidence of cadmium biomagnification in nature

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Croteau, M.-N.; Luoma, S.N.; Stewart, A.R.

    2005-01-01

    We conducted a study with cadmium (Cd) and copper (Cu) in the delta of San Francisco Bay, using nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes to identify trophic position and food web structure. Cadmium is progressively enriched among trophic levels in discrete epiphyte-based food webs composed of macrophyte-dwelling invertebrates (the first link being epiphytic algae) and fishes (the first link being gobies). Cadmium concentrations were biomagnified 15 times within the scope of two trophic links in both food webs. Trophic enrichment in invertebrates was twice that of fishes. No tendency toward trophic-level enrichment was observed for Cu, regardless of whether organisms were sorted by food web or treated on a taxonomic basis within discrete food webs. The greatest toxic effects of Cd are likely to occur with increasing trophic positions, where animals are ingesting Cd-rich prey (or food). In Franks Tract this occurs within discrete food chains composed of macrophyte-dwelling invertebrates or fishes inhabiting submerged aquatic vegetation. Unraveling ecosystem complexity is necessary before species most exposed and at risk can be identified. ?? 2005, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.

  20. Interactive effects of warming, eutrophication and size structure: impacts on biodiversity and food-web structure.

    PubMed

    Binzer, Amrei; Guill, Christian; Rall, Björn C; Brose, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    Warming and eutrophication are two of the most important global change stressors for natural ecosystems, but their interaction is poorly understood. We used a dynamic model of complex, size-structured food webs to assess interactive effects on diversity and network structure. We found antagonistic impacts: Warming increases diversity in eutrophic systems and decreases it in oligotrophic systems. These effects interact with the community size structure: Communities of similarly sized species such as parasitoid-host systems are stabilized by warming and destabilized by eutrophication, whereas the diversity of size-structured predator-prey networks decreases strongly with warming, but decreases only weakly with eutrophication. Nonrandom extinction risks for generalists and specialists lead to higher connectance in networks without size structure and lower connectance in size-structured communities. Overall, our results unravel interactive impacts of warming and eutrophication and suggest that size structure may serve as an important proxy for predicting the community sensitivity to these global change stressors.

  1. Global Patterns in Ecological Indicators of Marine Food Webs: A Modelling Approach

    PubMed Central

    Heymans, Johanna Jacomina; Coll, Marta; Libralato, Simone; Morissette, Lyne; Christensen, Villy

    2014-01-01

    Background Ecological attributes estimated from food web models have the potential to be indicators of good environmental status given their capabilities to describe redundancy, food web changes, and sensitivity to fishing. They can be used as a baseline to show how they might be modified in the future with human impacts such as climate change, acidification, eutrophication, or overfishing. Methodology In this study ecological network analysis indicators of 105 marine food web models were tested for variation with traits such as ecosystem type, latitude, ocean basin, depth, size, time period, and exploitation state, whilst also considering structural properties of the models such as number of linkages, number of living functional groups or total number of functional groups as covariate factors. Principal findings Eight indicators were robust to model construction: relative ascendency; relative overhead; redundancy; total systems throughput (TST); primary production/TST; consumption/TST; export/TST; and total biomass of the community. Large-scale differences were seen in the ecosystems of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with the Western Atlantic being more complex with an increased ability to mitigate impacts, while the Eastern Atlantic showed lower internal complexity. In addition, the Eastern Pacific was less organised than the Eastern Atlantic although both of these systems had increased primary production as eastern boundary current systems. Differences by ecosystem type highlighted coral reefs as having the largest energy flow and total biomass per unit of surface, while lagoons, estuaries, and bays had lower transfer efficiencies and higher recycling. These differences prevailed over time, although some traits changed with fishing intensity. Keystone groups were mainly higher trophic level species with mostly top-down effects, while structural/dominant groups were mainly lower trophic level groups (benthic primary producers such as seagrass and macroalgae

  2. Mechanisms affecting recovery in an upwelling food web: The case of the southern Humboldt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neira, Sergio; Moloney, Coleen L.; Cury, Philippe; Mullon, Christian; Christensen, Villy

    2009-12-01

    Although bottom-up forcing and overfishing are known to induce shifts in ecosystem states, system changes and their reversibility under each factor are still poorly understood. In this paper, dynamic food web simulations are conducted to evaluate when and why ecological thresholds may be exceeded, and whether bottom-up forcing or fishing is more likely to induce irreversible ecosystem states. Simulations are conducted using a calibrated food web model of the upwelling system off central Chile (33-39°S) and the Ecopath with Ecosim software version 5.1. The effects of fishing scenarios are explored by changing fishing mortality according to trophic level. The effects of bottom-up forcing scenarios are explored by changing phytoplankton biomass, as a function of sea temperature, at El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and decadal scales. Simulations are carried out for 150 years and impacts, system recovery and regime shifts from each scenario are evaluated using trophodynamic indicators and limit reference points for biomass of functional groups as proxies of food web state and ecological thresholds, respectively. Proportionally distributed fishing along trophic levels is the least harmful fishing scenario, resulting in biomass limit reference points rarely being exceeded and high system recovery. Concentrating fishing at higher and lower trophic levels more likely causes reference points to be exceeded and induces ecosystem changes with low-to-medium recovery potential. No limit reference points are exceeded (or regime shift induced) under ENSO-scale bottom-up forcing. Decadal scale bottom-up forcing has different effects on the system depending on the sequence in which the high and low phytoplankton biomass periods are simulated. A shift from low phytoplankton biomass towards high phytoplankton biomass does not result in biomass limit reference points being exceeded, whereas the opposite sequence results in a large number of limit reference points being exceeded

  3. Benthic community responses to macroalgae invasions in seagrass beds: Diversity, isotopic niche and food web structure at community level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deudero, S.; Box, A.; Vázquez-Luis, M.; Arroyo, N. L.

    2014-04-01

    Trophic paths between species are a useful tool for analysing the impact of species invasions of a biotic community. Species invasions produce changes at trophic level and diversity shifts by replacing native species with species of similar ecological niche. This study focused on the effects of macroalgal invasions on seagrass ecosystems. We conducted two - year bimonthly sampling of a pristine Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadow and dead matte colonized by three Caulerpa species bimonthly. The largest changes in faunal composition were found in meadows colonized by Caulerpa prolifera, where major differences in infaunal taxonomic distinctness were apparent. On the other hand, the infaunal community was quite similar between the two invasive Caulerpa species (Caulerpa taxifolia and Caulerpa racemosa). The isotopic niche based on the main trophic guilds established using stable isotope signatures at community level resulted in a highly compacted and 15N-enriched C. prolifera food web structure, indicating high overlap of food source utilization among faunal components, which is typical of degraded systems. Conversely, the P. oceanica ecosystem presented the most complex food web, while the influence of the 2 invasive species were similar. An attempt to reconstruct the food web at each vegetated habitat revealed high trophic linkages among the different trophic levels with a continuous transition among them by the various trophic guilds suggesting an adaptation response of the different organisms to the new habitat forming species.

  4. The impact of nonlinear functional responses on the long-term evolution of food web structure.

    PubMed

    Drossel, Barbara; McKane, Alan J; Quince, Christopher

    2004-08-21

    We investigate the long-term web structure emerging in evolutionary food web models when different types of functional responses are used. We find that large and complex webs with several trophic layers arise only if the population dynamics is such that it allows predators to focus on their best prey species. This can be achieved using modified Lotka-Volterra or Holling/Beddington functional responses with effective couplings that depend on the predator's efficiency at exploiting the prey, or a ratio-dependent functional response with adaptive foraging. In contrast, if standard Lotka-Volterra or Holling/Beddington functional responses are used, long-term evolution generates webs with almost all species being basal, and with additionally many links between these species. Interestingly, in all cases studied, a large proportion of weak links result naturally from the evolution of the food webs.

  5. What do molecular methods bring to host-parasitoid food webs?

    PubMed

    Hrček, Jan; Godfray, H Charles J

    2015-01-01

    Quantitative food webs are valuable tools to detect patterns in community structure and generate hypotheses for experimentation. Quantitative webs of whole communities are usually not feasible to build, and most attention focuses on assemblages of species that interact in similar ways. Hosts and parasitoids are a popular guild for study, and quantitative webs have traditionally been constructed by collecting, rearing, and identifying large samples of individuals from the field. In the past decade molecular methods have begun to be used extensively in studies of host-parasitoid webs to clarify species concepts. We review how this rapidly developing field is using molecular information to detect cryptic interactions between species and to increase our understanding of the phylogenetic and mechanistic processes which structure food webs.

  6. Phylogeny determines the role of helminth parasites in intertidal food webs.

    PubMed

    Poulin, Robert; Krasnov, Boris R; Pilosof, Shai; Thieltges, David W

    2013-11-01

    1. Parasites affect interactions among species in food webs and should be considered in any analysis of the structure, dynamics or resilience of trophic networks. 2. However, the roles of individual parasite species, such as their importance as connectors within the network, and what factors determine these roles, are yet to be investigated. Here, we test the hypotheses that the species roles of trematode, cestode and nematode parasites in aquatic food webs are influenced by the type of definitive host they use, and also determined by their phylogenetic affiliations. 3. We quantified the network role of 189 helminth species from six highly resolved intertidal food webs. We focused on four measures of centrality (node degree, closeness centrality, betweenness centrality and eigenvalue centrality), which characterize each parasite's position within the web, and on relative connectedness of a parasite species to taxa in its own module vs. other modules of the web (within-module degree and participation coefficient). 4. All six food webs displayed a significant modular structure, that is, they consisted of subsets of species interacting mostly with each other and less with species from other subsets. We demonstrated that the parasites themselves are not generating this modularity, though they contribute to intermodule connectivity. 5. Mixed-effects models revealed only a modest influence of the type of definitive host used (bird or fish) and of the web of origin on the different measures of parasite species roles. In contrast, the taxonomic affiliations of the parasites, included in the models as nested random factors, accounted for 37-93% of the total variance, depending on the measure of species role. 6. Our findings indicate that parasites are important intermodule connectors and thus contribute to web cohesion. We also uncover a very strong phylogenetic signal in parasite species roles, suggesting that the role of any parasite species in a food web, including new

  7. Food Chains & Webs. A Multimedia CD-ROM. [CD-ROM].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2001

    This CD-ROM is designed for classroom and individual use to teach and learn about food chains and food webs. Integrated animations, custom graphics, three-dimensional representations, photographs, and sound are featured for use in user-controlled activities. Interactive lessons are available to reinforce the subject material. Pre- and post-testing…

  8. Idiosyncratic responses of grizzly bear habitat to climate change based on projected food resource changes.

    PubMed

    Roberts, David R; Nielsen, Scott E; Stenhouse, Gordon B

    2014-07-01

    Climate change vulnerability assessments for species of conservation concern often use species distribution and ecological niche modeling to project changes in habitat. One of many assumptions of these approaches is that food web dependencies are consistent in time and environmental space. Species at higher trophic levels that rely on the availability of species at lower trophic levels as food may be sensitive to extinction cascades initiated by changes in the habitat of key food resources. Here we assess climate change vulnerability for Ursus arctos (grizzly bears) in the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains using projected changes to 17 of the most commonly consumed plant food items. We used presence-absence information from 7088 field plots to estimate ecological niches and to project changes in future distributions of each species. Model projections indicated idiosyncratic responses among food items. Many food items persisted or even increased, although several species were found to be vulnerable based on declines or geographic shifts in suitable habitat. These included Hedysarum alpinum (alpine sweet vetch), a critical spring and autumn root-digging resource when little else is available. Potential habitat loss was also identified for three fruiting species of lower importance to bears: Empetrum nigrum (crowberry), Vaccinium scoparium (grouseberry), and Fragaria virginiana (strawberry). A general trend towards uphill migration of bear foods may result in higher vulnerability to bear populations at low elevations, which are also those that are most likely to have human-bear conflict problems. Regardless, a wide diet breadth of grizzly bears, as well as wide environmental niches of most food items, make climate change a much lower threat to grizzly bears than other bear species such as polar bears and panda bears. We cannot exclude, however, future alterations in human behavior and land use resulting from climate change that may reduce survival rates.

  9. Idiosyncratic responses of grizzly bear habitat to climate change based on projected food resource changes.

    PubMed

    Roberts, David R; Nielsen, Scott E; Stenhouse, Gordon B

    2014-07-01

    Climate change vulnerability assessments for species of conservation concern often use species distribution and ecological niche modeling to project changes in habitat. One of many assumptions of these approaches is that food web dependencies are consistent in time and environmental space. Species at higher trophic levels that rely on the availability of species at lower trophic levels as food may be sensitive to extinction cascades initiated by changes in the habitat of key food resources. Here we assess climate change vulnerability for Ursus arctos (grizzly bears) in the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains using projected changes to 17 of the most commonly consumed plant food items. We used presence-absence information from 7088 field plots to estimate ecological niches and to project changes in future distributions of each species. Model projections indicated idiosyncratic responses among food items. Many food items persisted or even increased, although several species were found to be vulnerable based on declines or geographic shifts in suitable habitat. These included Hedysarum alpinum (alpine sweet vetch), a critical spring and autumn root-digging resource when little else is available. Potential habitat loss was also identified for three fruiting species of lower importance to bears: Empetrum nigrum (crowberry), Vaccinium scoparium (grouseberry), and Fragaria virginiana (strawberry). A general trend towards uphill migration of bear foods may result in higher vulnerability to bear populations at low elevations, which are also those that are most likely to have human-bear conflict problems. Regardless, a wide diet breadth of grizzly bears, as well as wide environmental niches of most food items, make climate change a much lower threat to grizzly bears than other bear species such as polar bears and panda bears. We cannot exclude, however, future alterations in human behavior and land use resulting from climate change that may reduce survival rates. PMID:25154102

  10. Soil invertebrate/micro-invertebrate interactions: disproportionate effects of species on food web structure and function.

    PubMed

    Moore, J C; DeRuiter, P C; Hunt, H W

    1993-06-01

    The preservation of biodiversity requires an appreciation of food web structure and an understanding of how disturbance alters their structure and function. Theoretical and empirical studies of food webs demonstrate that food webs possess a regular structure. Food chain length appears limited to three to four transfers, and, complexity and diversity are constrained. When ecosystem energetics are considered, species within food webs are seen to form interactive assemblages that process matter at different rates and respond to disturbance differently. Disturbance may affect the diversity of a system, or, may influence the relative importance of one species assemblage over another. Moreover, predicting the impact of disturbance on a system is difficult as species that comprise and process a small fraction of the system's biomass may control a disproportionate fraction of the system's biomass and diversity. Seven food webs at four sites were used in a modeling exercise to demonstrate this point. Field studies involving the role of mycorrhizal fungi yielded results consistent with the modeling studies as the types of plant species present, the level of production and the diversity of production were related to the levels of mycorrhizal fungi in the soils following disturbance. The results indicate that all species are important to ecosystem structure and function and that the monitoring of ecosystems and conservation efforts should expand their emphasis to the preservation of ecosystem integrity as well as that of individual species.

  11. The meaning of functional trait composition of food webs for ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Albouy, Camille; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2016-05-19

    There is a growing interest in using trait-based approaches to characterize the functional structure of animal communities. Quantitative methods have been derived mostly for plant ecology, but it is now common to characterize the functional composition of various systems such as soils, coral reefs, pelagic food webs or terrestrial vertebrate communities. With the ever-increasing availability of distribution and trait data, a quantitative method to represent the different roles of animals in a community promise to find generalities that will facilitate cross-system comparisons. There is, however, currently no theory relating the functional composition of food webs to their dynamics and properties. The intuitive interpretation that more functional diversity leads to higher resource exploitation and better ecosystem functioning was brought from plant ecology and does not apply readily to food webs. Here we appraise whether there are interpretable metrics to describe the functional composition of food webs that could foster a better understanding of their structure and functioning. We first distinguish the various roles that traits have on food web topology, resource extraction (bottom-up effects), trophic regulation (top-down effects), and the ability to keep energy and materials within the community. We then discuss positive effects of functional trait diversity on food webs, such as niche construction and bottom-up effects. We follow with a discussion on the negative effects of functional diversity, such as enhanced competition (both exploitation and apparent) and top-down control. Our review reveals that most of our current understanding of the impact of functional trait diversity on food web properties and functioning comes from an over-simplistic representation of network structure with well-defined levels. We, therefore, conclude with propositions for new research avenues for both theoreticians and empiricists. PMID:27114571

  12. The meaning of functional trait composition of food webs for ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Albouy, Camille; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2016-05-19

    There is a growing interest in using trait-based approaches to characterize the functional structure of animal communities. Quantitative methods have been derived mostly for plant ecology, but it is now common to characterize the functional composition of various systems such as soils, coral reefs, pelagic food webs or terrestrial vertebrate communities. With the ever-increasing availability of distribution and trait data, a quantitative method to represent the different roles of animals in a community promise to find generalities that will facilitate cross-system comparisons. There is, however, currently no theory relating the functional composition of food webs to their dynamics and properties. The intuitive interpretation that more functional diversity leads to higher resource exploitation and better ecosystem functioning was brought from plant ecology and does not apply readily to food webs. Here we appraise whether there are interpretable metrics to describe the functional composition of food webs that could foster a better understanding of their structure and functioning. We first distinguish the various roles that traits have on food web topology, resource extraction (bottom-up effects), trophic regulation (top-down effects), and the ability to keep energy and materials within the community. We then discuss positive effects of functional trait diversity on food webs, such as niche construction and bottom-up effects. We follow with a discussion on the negative effects of functional diversity, such as enhanced competition (both exploitation and apparent) and top-down control. Our review reveals that most of our current understanding of the impact of functional trait diversity on food web properties and functioning comes from an over-simplistic representation of network structure with well-defined levels. We, therefore, conclude with propositions for new research avenues for both theoreticians and empiricists.

  13. Changing Academic Teaching with Web 2.0 Technologies

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Newland, Barbara; Byles, Linda

    2014-01-01

    Academic teaching can change with the use of Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs and wikis, as these enable a different pedagogical approach through collaborative learning and the social construction of knowledge. Student expectations of their university learning experience have changed as they expect e-learning to be part of the learning…

  14. Parameter uncertainty, sensitivity, and sediment coupling in bioenergetics-based food web models

    SciTech Connect

    Barron, M.G.; Cacela, D.; Beltman, D.

    1995-12-31

    A bioenergetics-based food web model was developed and calibrated using measured PCB water and sediment concentrations in two Great Lakes food webs: Green Bay, Michigan and Lake Ontario. The model incorporated functional based trophic levels and sediment, water, and food chain exposures of PCBs to aquatic biota. Sensitivity analysis indicated the parameters with the greatest influence on PCBs in top predators were lipid content of plankton and benthos, planktivore assimilation efficiency, Kow, prey selection, and ambient temperature. Sediment-associated PCBs were estimated to contribute over 90% of PCBs in benthivores and less than 50% in piscivores. Ranges of PCB concentrations in top predators estimated by Monte Carlo simulation incorporating parameter uncertainty were within one order of magnitude of modal values. Model applications include estimation of exceedences of human and ecological thresholds. The results indicate that point estimates from bioenergetics-based food web models have substantial uncertainty that should be considered in regulatory and scientific applications.

  15. Vertical flux of biogenic carbon in the ocean: Is there food web control?

    SciTech Connect

    Rivkin, R.B.; Legendre, L.; Deibel, D.

    1996-05-24

    Models of biogenic carbon (BC) flux assume that short herbivorous food chains lead to high export, whereas complex microbial or omnivorous food webs lead to recycling and low export, and that export of BC from the euphotic zone equals new production (NP). In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, particulate organic carbon fluxes were similar during the spring phytoplankton bloom, when herbivory dominated, and during nonbloom conditions, when microbial and omnivorous food webs dominated. In contrast, NP was 1.2 to 161 times greater during the bloom than after it. Thus, neither food web structure nor NP can predict the magnitude or patterns of BC export, particularly on time scales over which the ocean is in nonequilibrium conditions. 29 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab.

  16. Climate alters intraspecific variation in copepod effect traits through pond food webs.

    PubMed

    Charette, Cristina; Derry, Alison M

    2016-05-01

    Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are primarily generated by phytoplankton in aquatic ecosystems, and can limit the growth, development, and reproduction of higher consumers. Among the most critical of the EFAs are highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs), which are only produced by certain groups of phytoplankton. Changing environmental conditions can alter phytoplankton community and fatty acid composition and affect the HUFA content of higher trophic levels. Almost no research has addressed intraspecific variation in HUFAs in zooplankton, nor intraspecific relationships of HUFAs with body size and fecundity. This is despite that intraspecific variation in HUFAs can exceed interspecific variation and that intraspecific trait variation in body size and fecundity is increasingly recognized to have an important role in food web ecology (effect traits). Our study addressed the relative influences of abiotic selection and food web effects associated with climate change on intraspecific differences and interrelationships between HUFA content, body size, and fecundity of freshwater copepods. We applied structural equation modeling and regression analyses to intraspecific variation in a dominant calanoid copepod, Leptodiatomus minutus, among a series of shallow north-temperate ponds. Climate-driven diurnal temperature fluctuations favored the coexistence of diversity of phytoplankton groups with different temperature optima and nutritive quality. This resulted in unexpected positive relationships between temperature, copepod DHA content and body size. Temperature correlated positively with diatom biovolume, and mediated relationships between copepod HUFA content and body size, and between copepod body size and fecundity. The presence of brook trout further accentuated these positive effects in warm ponds, likely through nutrient cycling and stimulation of phytoplankton resources. Climate change may have previously unrecognized positive effects on freshwater copepod DHA content

  17. Invasive crayfish as vectors of mercury in freshwater food webs of the Pacific Northwest.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Branden L; Willacker, James J; Eagles-Smith, Collin A; Pearl, Christopher A; Adams, Michael J

    2014-11-01

    Invasive species are important drivers of environmental change in aquatic ecosystems and can alter habitat characteristics, community composition, and ecosystem energetics. Such changes have important implications for many ecosystem processes, including the bioaccumulation and biomagnification of contaminants through food webs. Mercury concentrations were measured in 2 nonnative and 1 native crayfish species from western Oregon (USA). Nonnative red swamp crayfish had mercury concentrations similar to those in native signal crayfish (0.29 ± 0.05 µg/g dry wt and 0.36 ± 0.06 µg/g dry wt, respectively), whereas the nonnative ringed crayfish had lower mercury concentrations (0.10 ± 0.02 µg/g dry wt) than either of the other species. The mean energy content of muscle was similar between the native signal crayfish and nonnative ringed crayfish but was significantly higher in the nonnative red swamp crayfish. Across species, mercury concentrations were negatively correlated with energy density. Such energetic differences could exacerbate changes in mercury transfer through trophic pathways of food webs, especially via alterations to the growth dynamics of consumers. Thus, it is important to consider the role of energy content in determining effective mercury exposure even when mercury concentrations on a per-unit mass basis do not differ between species. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:2639-2645. Published 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of SETAC. This article is a US Government work and as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

  18. Climate alters intraspecific variation in copepod effect traits through pond food webs.

    PubMed

    Charette, Cristina; Derry, Alison M

    2016-05-01

    Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are primarily generated by phytoplankton in aquatic ecosystems, and can limit the growth, development, and reproduction of higher consumers. Among the most critical of the EFAs are highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs), which are only produced by certain groups of phytoplankton. Changing environmental conditions can alter phytoplankton community and fatty acid composition and affect the HUFA content of higher trophic levels. Almost no research has addressed intraspecific variation in HUFAs in zooplankton, nor intraspecific relationships of HUFAs with body size and fecundity. This is despite that intraspecific variation in HUFAs can exceed interspecific variation and that intraspecific trait variation in body size and fecundity is increasingly recognized to have an important role in food web ecology (effect traits). Our study addressed the relative influences of abiotic selection and food web effects associated with climate change on intraspecific differences and interrelationships between HUFA content, body size, and fecundity of freshwater copepods. We applied structural equation modeling and regression analyses to intraspecific variation in a dominant calanoid copepod, Leptodiatomus minutus, among a series of shallow north-temperate ponds. Climate-driven diurnal temperature fluctuations favored the coexistence of diversity of phytoplankton groups with different temperature optima and nutritive quality. This resulted in unexpected positive relationships between temperature, copepod DHA content and body size. Temperature correlated positively with diatom biovolume, and mediated relationships between copepod HUFA content and body size, and between copepod body size and fecundity. The presence of brook trout further accentuated these positive effects in warm ponds, likely through nutrient cycling and stimulation of phytoplankton resources. Climate change may have previously unrecognized positive effects on freshwater copepod DHA content

  19. Sources and transfers of methylmercury in adjacent river and forest food webs.

    PubMed

    Tsui, Martin Tsz Ki; Blum, Joel D; Kwon, Sae Yun; Finlay, Jacques C; Balogh, Steven J; Nollet, Yabing H

    2012-10-16

    Nearly all ecosystems are contaminated with highly toxic methylmercury (MeHg), but the specific sources and pathways leading to the uptake of MeHg within and among food webs are not well understood. In this study, we report stable mercury (Hg) isotope compositions in food webs in a river and an adjacent forest in northern California and demonstrate the utility of Hg isotopes for studying MeHg sources and cross-habitat transfers. We observed large differences in both δ(202)Hg (mass-dependent fractionation) and Δ(199)Hg (mass-independent fractionation) within both food webs. The majority of isotopic variation within each food web could be accounted for by differing proportions of inorganic Hg [Hg(II)] and MeHg along food chains. We estimated mean isotope values of Hg(II) and MeHg in each habitat and found a large difference in δ(202)Hg between Hg(II) and MeHg (∼2.7‰) in the forest but not in the river (∼0.25‰). This is consistent with in situ Hg(II) methylation in the study river but suggests Hg(II) methylation may not be important in the forest. In fact, the similarity in δ(202)Hg between MeHg in forest food webs and Hg(II) in precipitation suggests that MeHg in forest food webs may be derived from atmospheric sources (e.g., rainfall, fog). Utilizing contrasting δ(202)Hg values between MeHg in river food webs (-1.0‰) and MeHg in forest food webs (+0.7‰), we estimate with a two-source mixing model that ∼55% of MeHg in two riparian spiders is derived from riverine sources while ∼45% of MeHg originates from terrestrial sources. Thus, stable Hg isotopes can provide new information on subtle differences in sources of MeHg and trace MeHg transfers within and among food webs in natural ecosystems.

  20. Trends That Could Change School Food Service.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    VanEgmond-Pannell, Dorothy

    1986-01-01

    Among the 10 megatrends that will affect school food service in the future are population changes; computerized and automated kitchens; cost increases; school districts contracting to serve other community groups; fewer federal government controls; and higher teacher salaries, forcing changes in how students are taught. (MLF)

  1. Planktonic food webs revisited: Reanalysis of results from the linear inverse approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hlaili, Asma Sakka; Niquil, Nathalie; Legendre, Louis

    2014-01-01

    Identification of the trophic pathway that dominates a given planktonic assemblage is generally based on the distribution of biomasses among food-web compartments, or better, the flows of materials or energy among compartments. These flows are obtained by field observations and a posteriori analyses, including the linear inverse approach. In the present study, we re-analysed carbon flows obtained by inverse analysis at 32 stations in the global ocean and one large lake. Our results do not support two "classical" views of plankton ecology, i.e. that the herbivorous food web is dominated by mesozooplankton grazing on large phytoplankton, and the microbial food web is based on microzooplankton significantly consuming bacteria; our results suggest instead that phytoplankton are generally grazed by microzooplankton, of which they are the main food source. Furthermore, we identified the "phyto-microbial food web", where microzooplankton largely feed on phytoplankton, in addition to the already known "poly-microbial food web", where microzooplankton consume more or less equally various types of food. These unexpected results led to a (re)definition of the conceptual models corresponding to the four trophic pathways we found to exist in plankton, i.e. the herbivorous, multivorous, and two types of microbial food web. We illustrated the conceptual trophic pathways using carbon flows that were actually observed at representative stations. The latter can be calibrated to correspond to any field situation. Our study also provides researchers and managers with operational criteria for identifying the dominant trophic pathway in a planktonic assemblage, these criteria being based on the values of two carbon ratios that could be calculated from flow values that are relatively easy to estimate in the field.

  2. Climate warming strengthens indirect interactions in an old-field food web.

    PubMed

    Barton, Brandon T; Beckerman, Andrew P; Schmitz, Oswald J

    2009-09-01

    Climate change is expected to alter trophic interactions within food chains, but predicting the fate of particular species is difficult because the predictions hinge on knowing exactly how climate influences direct and indirect interactions. We used two complementary approaches to examine how climate change may alter trophic interactions within an old-field food web composed of herbaceous plants, grasshopper herbivores, and spider predators. We synthesized data spanning 15 years of experimentation during which interannual mean growing season temperature varied by 2 degrees C and precipitation by 2.5 cm. We also manipulated temperature within mesocosms to test the affect of temperature on primary production and strength of direct and indirect trophic interactions. Both approaches produced similar results: plant production was not directly affected by temperature or precipitation, but the strength of top-down indirect effects on grasses and forbs increased by 30-40% per 1 degrees C. Hence, the net effect of climate change was to strengthen top-down control of this terrestrial system. PMID:19769112

  3. Nutrition Content of Food and Beverage Products on Web Sites Popular With Children

    PubMed Central

    Lingas, Elena O.; Bukofzer, Eliana

    2009-01-01

    We assessed the nutritional quality of branded food and beverage products advertised on 28 Web sites popular with children. Of the 77 advertised products for which nutritional information was available, 49 met Institute of Medicine criteria for foods to avoid, 23 met criteria for foods to neither avoid nor encourage, and 5 met criteria for foods to encourage. There is a need for further research on the nature and extent of food and beverage advertising online to aid policymakers as they assess the impact of this marketing on children. PMID:19443816

  4. Asynchronous food-web pathways could buffer the response of Serengeti predators to El Niño Southern Oscillation.

    PubMed

    Sinclair, A R E; Metzger, Kristine L; Fryxell, John M; Packer, Craig; Byrom, Andrea E; Craft, Meggan E; Hampson, Katie; Lembo, Tiziana; Durant, Sarah M; Forrester, Guy J; Bukombe, John; Mchetto, John; Dempewolf, Jan; Hilborn, Ray; Cleaveland, Sarah; Nkwabi, Ally; Mosser, Anna; Mduma, Simon A R

    2013-05-01

    Understanding how entire ecosystems maintain stability in the face of climatic and human disturbance is one of the most fundamental challenges in ecology. Theory suggests that a crucial factor determining the degree of ecosystem stability is simply the degree of synchrony with which different species in ecological food webs respond to environmental stochasticity. Ecosystems in which all food-web pathways are affected similarly by external disturbance should amplify variability in top carnivore abundance over time due to population interactions, whereas ecosystems in which a large fraction of pathways are nonresponsive or even inversely responsive to external disturbance will have more constant levels of abundance at upper trophic levels. To test the mechanism underlying this hypothesis, we used over half a century of demographic data for multiple species in the Serengeti (Tanzania) ecosystem to measure the degree of synchrony to variation imposed by an external environmental driver, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO effects were mediated largely via changes in dry-season vs. wet-season rainfall and consequent changes in vegetation availability, propagating via bottom-up effects to higher levels of the Serengeti food web to influence herbivores, predators and parasites. Some species in the Serengeti food web responded to the influence of ENSO in opposite ways, whereas other species were insensitive to variation in ENSO. Although far from conclusive, our results suggest that a diffuse mixture of herbivore responses could help buffer top carnivores, such as Serengeti lions, from variability in climate. Future global climate changes that favor some pathways over others, however, could alter the effectiveness of such processes in the future.

  5. Anthropogenic and natural sources of acidity and metals and their influence on the structure of stream food webs.

    PubMed

    Hogsden, Kristy L; Harding, Jon S

    2012-03-01

    We compared food web structure in 20 streams with either anthropogenic or natural sources of acidity and metals or circumneutral water chemistry in New Zealand. Community and diet analysis indicated that mining streams receiving anthropogenic inputs of acidic and metal-rich drainage had much simpler food webs (fewer species, shorter food chains, less links) than those in naturally acidic, naturally high metal, and circumneutral streams. Food webs of naturally high metal streams were structurally similar to those in mining streams, lacking fish predators and having few species. Whereas, webs in naturally acidic streams differed very little from those in circumneutral streams due to strong similarities in community composition and diets of secondary and top consumers. The combined negative effects of acidity and metals on stream food webs are clear. However, elevated metal concentrations, regardless of source, appear to play a more important role than acidity in driving food web structure. PMID:22088498

  6. Climate change impacts on food system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, X.; Cai, X.; Zhu, T.

    2014-12-01

    Food system includes biophysical factors (climate, land and water), human environments (production technologies and food consumption, distribution and marketing), as well as the dynamic interactions within them. Climate change affects agriculture and food systems in various ways. Agricultural production can be influenced directly by climatic factors such as mean temperature rising, change in rainfall patterns, and more frequent extreme events. Eventually, climate change could cause shift of arable land, alteration of water availability, abnormal fluctuation of food prices, and increase of people at risk of malnutrition. This work aims to evaluate how climate change would affect agricultural production biophysically and how these effects would propagate to social factors at the global level. In order to model the complex interactions between the natural and social components, a Global Optimization model of Agricultural Land and Water resources (GOALW) is applied to the analysis. GOALW includes various demands of human society (food, feed, other), explicit production module, and irrigation water availability constraint. The objective of GOALW is to maximize global social welfare (consumers' surplus and producers' surplus).Crop-wise irrigation water use in different regions around the world are determined by the model; marginal value of water (MVW) can be obtained from the model, which implies how much additional welfare benefit could be gained with one unit increase in local water availability. Using GOALW, we will analyze two questions in this presentation: 1) how climate change will alter irrigation requirements and how the social system would buffer that by price/demand adjustment; 2) how will the MVW be affected by climate change and what are the controlling factors. These results facilitate meaningful insights for investment and adaptation strategies in sustaining world's food security under climate change.

  7. The zooplankton food web under East Antarctic pack ice - A stable isotope study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jia, Zhongnan; Swadling, Kerrie M.; Meiners, Klaus M.; Kawaguchi, So; Virtue, Patti

    2016-09-01

    Understanding how sea ice serves zooplankton species during the food-limited season is crucial information to evaluate the potential responses of pelagic food webs to changes in sea-ice conditions in the Southern Ocean. Stable isotope analyses (13C/12C and 15N/14N) were used to compare the dietary preferences and trophic relationships of major zooplankton species under pack ice during two winter-spring transitions (2007 and 2012). During sampling, furcilia of Euphausia superba demonstrated dietary plasticity between years, herbivory when feeding on sea-ice biota, and with a more heterotrophic diet when feeding from both the sea ice and the water column. Carbon isotope signatures suggested that the pteropod Limacina helicina, small copepods Oithona spp., ostracods and amphipods relied heavily on sea-ice biota. Post larval E. superba and omnivorous krill Thysanoessa macrura consumed both water column and ice biota, but further investigations are needed to estimate the contribution from each source. Large copepods and chaetognaths overwintered on a water column-based diet. Our study suggests that warm and permeable sea ice is more likely to provide food for zooplankton species under the ice than the colder ice.

  8. Rapid evolution buffers ecosystem impacts of viruses in a microbial food web.

    PubMed

    Lennon, Jay T; Martiny, Jennifer B H

    2008-11-01

    Predation and parasitism often regulate population dynamics, community interactions, and ecosystem functioning. The strength of these top-down pressures is variable, however, and may be influenced by both ecological and evolutionary processes. We conducted a chemostat experiment to assess the direct and indirect effects of viruses on a marine microbial food web comprised of an autotrophic host (Synechococcus) and non-target heterotrophic bacteria. Viruses dramatically altered the host population dynamics, which in turn influenced phosphorus resource availability and the stoichiometric allocation of nutrients into microbial biomass. These virus effects diminished with time, but could not be attributed to changes in the abundance or composition of heterotrophic bacteria. Instead, attenuation of the virus effects coincided with the detection of resistant host phenotypes, suggesting that rapid evolution buffered the effect of viruses on nutrient cycling. Our results demonstrate that evolutionary processes are important for community dynamics and ecosystem processes on ecologically relevant time scales.

  9. Cascading effects from predator removal depend on resource availability in a benthic food web.

    PubMed

    Sieben, Katrin; Rippen, Anneke D; Eriksson, Britas Klemens

    2011-01-01

    We tested joint effects of predator loss and increased resource availability on the grazers' trophic level and the propagation of trophic interactions in a benthic food web by excluding larger predatory fish from cages and manipulating nutrients in the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea. The combination of nutrient enrichment and excluding larger predators induced an increase in medium-sized predatory fish (three-spined stickleback). The meso-predator fish in turn did not change the total abundance of the invertebrate herbivores, but did cause a substantial shift in their community composition towards the dominance of gastropods by reducing amphipods by 40-60%, while gastropods were left unchanged. The shift in grazer composition generated a 23 times higher producer biomass, but only under nutrient enrichment. Our results show that top-predator declines can substantially shift the species composition at the grazers' level, but that cascading effects on producers by a trophic cascade strongly depend on resource availability.

  10. The role of body mass in diet contiguity and food-web structure.

    PubMed

    Stouffer, Daniel B; Rezende, Enrico L; Amaral, Luís A Nunes

    2011-05-01

    1. The idea that species occupy distinct niches is a fundamental concept in ecology. Classically, the niche was described as an n-dimensional hypervolume where each dimension represents a biotic or abiotic characteristic. More recently, it has been hypothesised that a single dimension may be sufficient to explain the system-level organization of trophic interactions observed between species in a community. 2. Here, we test the hypothesis that species body mass is that single dimension. Specifically, we determine how the intervality of food webs ordered by body size compares to that of randomly ordered food webs. We also extend this analysis beyond the community level to the effect of body mass in explaining the diets of individual species. 3. We conclude that body mass significantly explains the ordering of species and the contiguity of diets in empirical communities. 4. At the species-specific level, we find that the degree to which body mass is a significant explanatory variable depends strongly on the phylogenetic history, suggesting that other evolutionarily conserved traits partly account for species' roles in the food web. 5. Our investigation of the role of body mass in food webs thus helps us to better understand the important features of community food-web structure and the evolutionary forces that have led us to the communities we observe.

  11. The cesium:potassium index of food web structure -- A complementary approach to stable isotope indicators

    SciTech Connect

    Young, D.

    1995-12-31

    Stable isotope shifts with trophic or average feeding level are an important tool in characterizing sampled food webs for biomagnification and other studies. However, spatial and temporal variations in isotope ratios in the environment can introduce uncertainties in interpreting such data. An elemental index, the Cs/K ratio, has proved to be a useful tool in assessing the reliability of the trophic level approach to characterizing marine and estuarine food webs. A major advantage is the constant value of this elemental ratio in seawater. Studies conducted over the last three decades in a variety of aquatic ecosystems generally have yielded consistent results using the Cs/K Index. The mean Trophic Transfer Factor obtained from twelve food web surveys was 2.0 +/- 0.1 (SE), indicating substantial structure for most of the food webs sampled. An empirical technique, termed the Exponential Biomagnification Model, was developed to simplify the observed variation of Cs/K with Trophic Level Assignment. This approach has proved useful in assessing sampled food webs with non-integer Trophic Level Assignments, and obtaining average Trophic Transfer Factors for the Cs/K ratio and corresponding tissue concentrations of environmental contaminants.

  12. How habitat-modifying organisms structure the food web of two coastal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    van der Zee, Els M; Angelini, Christine; Govers, Laura L; Christianen, Marjolijn J A; Altieri, Andrew H; van der Reijden, Karin J; Silliman, Brian R; van de Koppel, Johan; van der Geest, Matthijs; van Gils, Jan A; van der Veer, Henk W; Piersma, Theunis; de Ruiter, Peter C; Olff, Han; van der Heide, Tjisse

    2016-03-16

    The diversity and structure of ecosystems has been found to depend both on trophic interactions in food webs and on other species interactions such as habitat modification and mutualism that form non-trophic interaction networks. However, quantification of the dependencies between these two main interaction networks has remained elusive. In this study, we assessed how habitat-modifying organisms affect basic food web properties by conducting in-depth empirical investigations of two ecosystems: North American temperate fringing marshes and West African tropical seagrass meadows. Results reveal that habitat-modifying species, through non-trophic facilitation rather than their trophic role, enhance species richness across multiple trophic levels, increase the number of interactions per species (link density), but decrease the realized fraction of all possible links within the food web (connectance). Compared to the trophic role of the most highly connected species, we found this non-trophic effects to be more important for species richness and of more or similar importance for link density and connectance. Our findings demonstrate that food webs can be fundamentally shaped by interactions outside the trophic network, yet intrinsic to the species participating in it. Better integration of non-trophic interactions in food web analyses may therefore strongly contribute to their explanatory and predictive capacity. PMID:26962135

  13. Legacy effects of drought on plant growth and the soil food web.

    PubMed

    de Vries, Franciska Trijntje; Liiri, Mira E; Bjørnlund, Lisa; Setälä, Heikki M; Christensen, Søren; Bardgett, Richard D

    2012-11-01

    Soils deliver important ecosystem services, such as nutrient provision for plants and the storage of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N), which are greatly impacted by drought. Both plants and soil biota affect soil C and N availability, which might in turn affect their response to drought, offering the potential to feed back on each other's performance. In a greenhouse experiment, we compared legacy effects of repeated drought on plant growth and the soil food web in two contrasting land-use systems: extensively managed grassland, rich in C and with a fungal-based food web, and intensively managed wheat lower in C and with a bacterial-based food web. Moreover, we assessed the effect of plant presence on the recovery of the soil food web after drought. Drought legacy effects increased plant growth in both systems, and a plant strongly reduced N leaching. Fungi, bacteria, and their predators were more resilient after drought in the grassland soil than in the wheat soil. The presence of a plant strongly affected the composition of the soil food web, and alleviated the effects of drought for most trophic groups, regardless of the system. This effect was stronger for the bottom trophic levels, whose resilience was positively correlated to soil available C. Our results show that plant belowground inputs have the potential to affect the recovery of belowground communities after drought, with implications for the functions they perform, such as C and N cycling.

  14. How habitat-modifying organisms structure the food web of two coastal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    van der Zee, Els M; Angelini, Christine; Govers, Laura L; Christianen, Marjolijn J A; Altieri, Andrew H; van der Reijden, Karin J; Silliman, Brian R; van de Koppel, Johan; van der Geest, Matthijs; van Gils, Jan A; van der Veer, Henk W; Piersma, Theunis; de Ruiter, Peter C; Olff, Han; van der Heide, Tjisse

    2016-03-16

    The diversity and structure of ecosystems has been found to depend both on trophic interactions in food webs and on other species interactions such as habitat modification and mutualism that form non-trophic interaction networks. However, quantification of the dependencies between these two main interaction networks has remained elusive. In this study, we assessed how habitat-modifying organisms affect basic food web properties by conducting in-depth empirical investigations of two ecosystems: North American temperate fringing marshes and West African tropical seagrass meadows. Results reveal that habitat-modifying species, through non-trophic facilitation rather than their trophic role, enhance species richness across multiple trophic levels, increase the number of interactions per species (link density), but decrease the realized fraction of all possible links within the food web (connectance). Compared to the trophic role of the most highly connected species, we found this non-trophic effects to be more important for species richness and of more or similar importance for link density and connectance. Our findings demonstrate that food webs can be fundamentally shaped by interactions outside the trophic network, yet intrinsic to the species participating in it. Better integration of non-trophic interactions in food web analyses may therefore strongly contribute to their explanatory and predictive capacity.

  15. Niche evolution, trophic structure, and species turnover in model food webs.

    PubMed

    Ingram, Travis; Harmon, Luke J; Shurin, Jonathan B

    2009-07-01

    The features that govern the stability and persistence of species interaction networks, such as food webs, remain elusive, but recent work suggests that the distribution and strength of trophic links play an important role. Potential omnivory-stability relationships have been investigated and debated extensively, but we still have a relatively poor understanding of how levels of omnivory relate to the stability of diverse food webs. Here, we use an evolutionary assembly model to investigate how different trade-offs in resource use influence both food web structure and dynamic stability during the assembly process. We build on a previous model by allowing speciation along with the evolution of two traits: body size and feeding-niche width. Across a wide range of conditions, the level of omnivory in a food web is positively related to its dynamic instability (variability and species turnover). Parameter values favoring omnivory also allow a wider range of phenotypes to invade, often displacing existing species. This high species turnover leaves signatures in reconstructed phylogenies, with shorter branches connecting extant species in more omnivorous food webs. Our findings suggest that features of the environment may influence both trophic structure and dynamic stability, leading to emergent omnivory-stability relationships.

  16. Global food security under climate change

    PubMed Central

    Schmidhuber, Josef; Tubiello, Francesco N.

    2007-01-01

    This article reviews the potential impacts of climate change on food security. It is found that of the four main elements of food security, i.e., availability, stability, utilization, and access, only the first is routinely addressed in simulation studies. To this end, published results indicate that the impacts of climate change are significant, however, with a wide projected range (between 5 million and 170 million additional people at risk of hunger by 2080) strongly depending on assumed socio-economic development. The likely impacts of climate change on the other important dimensions of food security are discussed qualitatively, indicating the potential for further negative impacts beyond those currently assessed with models. Finally, strengths and weaknesses of current assessment studies are discussed, suggesting improvements and proposing avenues for new analyses. PMID:18077404

  17. Sea lamprey carcasses exert local and variable food web effects in a nutrient-limited Atlantic coastal stream

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weaver, Daniel M.; Coghlan Jr., Stephen M.; Zydlewski, Joseph

    2016-01-01

    Resource flows from adjacent ecosystems are critical in maintaining structure and function of freshwater food webs. Migrating sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) deliver a pulsed marine-derived nutrient subsidy to rivers in spring when the metabolic demand of producers and consumers are increasing. However, the spatial and temporal dynamics of these nutrient subsidies are not well characterized. We used sea lamprey carcass additions in a small stream to examine changes in nutrients, primary productivity, and nutrient assimilation among consumers. Algal biomass increased 57%–71% immediately adjacent to carcasses; however, broader spatial changes from multiple-site carcass addition may have been influenced by canopy cover. We detected assimilation of nutrients (via δ13C and δ15N) among several macroinvertebrate families including Heptageniidae, Hydropsychidae, and Perlidae. Our research suggests that subsidies may evoke localized patch-scale effects on food webs, and the pathways of assimilation in streams are likely coupled to adjacent terrestrial systems. This research underscores the importance of connectivity in streams, which may influence sea lamprey spawning and elicit varying food web responses from carcass subsidies due to fine-scale habitat variables.

  18. Reconciling the role of organic matter pathways in aquatic food webs by measuring multiple tracers in individuals.

    PubMed

    Jardine, Timothy D; Woods, Ryan; Marshall, Jonathan; Fawcetr, James; Lobegeiger, Jaye; Valdez, Dominic; Kainz, Martin J

    2015-12-01

    Few studies measure multiple ecological tracers in individual organisms, thus limiting our ability to differentiate among organic matter source pathways and understand consequences of dietary variation and the use of external subsidies in complex food webs. We combined two tracers, stable isotope (SI) ratios and fatty acids (FA), to investigate linkages among ecological compartments (water column, benthos, riparian zone) in food webs in waterholes of a dryland river network, the Border Rivers in southwestern Queensland, Australia. Comprehensive analyses of sources (plankton, periphyton, leaf litter, riparian grasses) and animals (benthic insects, mollusks, large crustaceans, fishes) for SI and FA showed that all three zones contribute to animal biomass, depending on species and life stage. Large fishes derived a subsidy from the riparian/floodplain zone, likely through the consumption of terrestrial and semi-aquatic insects and prawns that fed on detritivorous insects. Importantly, post-larval bony bream (Nematalosa erebi) and golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) were tightly connected to the water column, as evidenced by 13C-depleted, 15N-enriched isotope ratios and a high content of plankton-derived polyunsaturated fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA; 20:53] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA; 22:6003]). These observations were consistent with expectations from nutritional requirements of fish early life stages and habitat changes associated with maturity. These results highlight the importance of high-quality foods during early development of fishes, and show that attempting to attribute food-web production to a single source pathway overlooks important but often subtle subsidies that maintain viable populations. A complete understanding of food-web dynamics must consider both quantity and quality of different available organic matter sources. This understanding can be achieved with a combined SI and FA approach, but more controlled dietary studies are needed to

  19. Reconciling the role of organic matter pathways in aquatic food webs by measuring multiple tracers in individuals.

    PubMed

    Jardine, Timothy D; Woods, Ryan; Marshall, Jonathan; Fawcetr, James; Lobegeiger, Jaye; Valdez, Dominic; Kainz, Martin J

    2015-12-01

    Few studies measure multiple ecological tracers in individual organisms, thus limiting our ability to differentiate among organic matter source pathways and understand consequences of dietary variation and the use of external subsidies in complex food webs. We combined two tracers, stable isotope (SI) ratios and fatty acids (FA), to investigate linkages among ecological compartments (water column, benthos, riparian zone) in food webs in waterholes of a dryland river network, the Border Rivers in southwestern Queensland, Australia. Comprehensive analyses of sources (plankton, periphyton, leaf litter, riparian grasses) and animals (benthic insects, mollusks, large crustaceans, fishes) for SI and FA showed that all three zones contribute to animal biomass, depending on species and life stage. Large fishes derived a subsidy from the riparian/floodplain zone, likely through the consumption of terrestrial and semi-aquatic insects and prawns that fed on detritivorous insects. Importantly, post-larval bony bream (Nematalosa erebi) and golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) were tightly connected to the water column, as evidenced by 13C-depleted, 15N-enriched isotope ratios and a high content of plankton-derived polyunsaturated fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA; 20:53] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA; 22:6003]). These observations were consistent with expectations from nutritional requirements of fish early life stages and habitat changes associated with maturity. These results highlight the importance of high-quality foods during early development of fishes, and show that attempting to attribute food-web production to a single source pathway overlooks important but often subtle subsidies that maintain viable populations. A complete understanding of food-web dynamics must consider both quantity and quality of different available organic matter sources. This understanding can be achieved with a combined SI and FA approach, but more controlled dietary studies are needed to

  20. Medium-sized exotic prey create novel food webs: the case of predators and scavengers consuming lagomorphs

    PubMed Central

    Hiraldo, Fernando; Lambertucci, Sergio A.

    2016-01-01

    Food web interactions are key to community structure. The introduction of species can be seen as an uncontrolled experiment of the addition of species. Introduced species lead to multiple changes, frequently threatening the native biodiversity. However, little is known about their direct effect on the upper level of the food web. In this study we review empirical data on the predator–prey relationship between the introduced lagomorphs and their consumers, and use meta-analytical tools to quantify the strength of their interactions. We expect that exotic lagomorphs will destabilize food webs, affect ecological processes and compromise the conservation of the invaded regions. We found 156 studies on the diet of 43 species of predators that consume lagomorphs as exotic preys in South America and Oceania. We found an average exotic lagomorphs-predator link of 20% which indicates a strong interaction, given that the average for the strongest links with native prey (when lagomorphs are not included in the predator diet) is about 24%. Additionally, this last link decreases to 17% when lagomorphs are present. When lagomorphs arrive in a new environment they may become the most important resource for predators, producing an unstable equilibrium in the novel food web. Any disruption of this interaction could have catastrophic consequences for the native diversity by directly impacting predators or indirectly impacting native preys by apparent competition. Eradication or any change in their abundances should be carefully considered in conservation actions since those will have great impacts on predator populations and ultimately in the whole communities. PMID:27547575

  1. Effects of whaling on the structure of the Southern Ocean food web: insights on the "krill surplus" from ecosystem modelling.

    PubMed

    Surma, Szymon; Pakhomov, Evgeny A; Pitcher, Tony J

    2014-01-01

    The aim of this study was to examine the ecological plausibility of the "krill surplus" hypothesis and the effects of whaling on the Southern Ocean food web using mass-balance ecosystem modelling. The depletion trajectory and unexploited biomass of each rorqual population in the Antarctic was reconstructed using yearly catch records and a set of species-specific surplus production models. The resulting estimates of the unexploited biomass of Antarctic rorquals were used to construct an Ecopath model of the Southern Ocean food web existing in 1900. The rorqual depletion trajectory was then used in an Ecosim scenario to drive rorqual biomasses and examine the "krill surplus" phenomenon and whaling effects on the food web in the years 1900-2008. An additional suite of Ecosim scenarios reflecting several hypothetical trends in Southern Ocean primary productivity were employed to examine the effect of bottom-up forcing on the documented krill biomass trend. The output of the Ecosim scenarios indicated that while the "krill surplus" hypothesis is a plausible explanation of the biomass trends observed in some penguin and pinniped species in the mid-20th century, the excess krill biomass was most likely eliminated by a rapid decline in primary productivity in the years 1975-1995. Our findings suggest that changes in physical conditions in the Southern Ocean during this time period could have eliminated the ecological effects of rorqual depletion, although the mechanism responsible is currently unknown. Furthermore, a decline in iron bioavailability due to rorqual depletion may have contributed to the rapid decline in overall Southern Ocean productivity during the last quarter of the 20th century. The results of this study underscore the need for further research on historical changes in the roles of top-down and bottom-up forcing in structuring the Southern Ocean food web.

  2. Medium-sized exotic prey create novel food webs: the case of predators and scavengers consuming lagomorphs.

    PubMed

    Barbar, Facundo; Hiraldo, Fernando; Lambertucci, Sergio A

    2016-01-01

    Food web interactions are key to community structure. The introduction of species can be seen as an uncontrolled experiment of the addition of species. Introduced species lead to multiple changes, frequently threatening the native biodiversity. However, little is known about their direct effect on the upper level of the food web. In this study we review empirical data on the predator-prey relationship between the introduced lagomorphs and their consumers, and use meta-analytical tools to quantify the strength of their interactions. We expect that exotic lagomorphs will destabilize food webs, affect ecological processes and compromise the conservation of the invaded regions. We found 156 studies on the diet of 43 species of predators that consume lagomorphs as exotic preys in South America and Oceania. We found an average exotic lagomorphs-predator link of 20% which indicates a strong interaction, given that the average for the strongest links with native prey (when lagomorphs are not included in the predator diet) is about 24%. Additionally, this last link decreases to 17% when lagomorphs are present. When lagomorphs arrive in a new environment they may become the most important resource for predators, producing an unstable equilibrium in the novel food web. Any disruption of this interaction could have catastrophic consequences for the native diversity by directly impacting predators or indirectly impacting native preys by apparent competition. Eradication or any change in their abundances should be carefully considered in conservation actions since those will have great impacts on predator populations and ultimately in the whole communities. PMID:27547575

  3. Food security in a changing climate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pulwarty, Roger; Eilerts, Gary; Verdin, James

    2012-01-01

    By 2080 the effects of climate change—on heat waves, floods, sea level rise, and drought—could push an additional 600 million people into malnutrition and increase the number of people facing water scarcity by 1.8 billion. The precise impacts will, however, strongly depend on socioeconomic conditions such as local markets and food import dependence. In the near term, two factors are also changing the nature of food security: (1) rapid urbanization, with the proportion of the global population living in urban areas expanding from 13 percent in 1975 to greater than 50 percent at present, and (2) trade and domestic market liberalization since 1993, which has promoted removal of import controls, deregulation of prices, and the loss of preferential markets for many small economies. Over the last two years, the worst drought in decades has devastated eastern Africa. The resulting food-security crisis has affected roughly 13 million people and has reminded us that there is still a long way to go in addressing current climate-related risks. In the face of such profound changes and uncertainties, our approaches to food security must evolve. In this article, we describe four key elements that, in our view, will be essential to the success of efforts to address the linked challenges of food security and climate change.

  4. Distributions of key exposure factors controlling the uptake of xenobiotic chemicals in an estuarine food web

    SciTech Connect

    Iannuzzi, T.J.; Harrington, N.W.; Shear, N.M.; Curry, C.L.; Carlson-Lynch, H.; Henning, M.H.; Su, S.H.; Rabbe, D.E.

    1996-11-01

    A critical evaluation of literature on the behavior, physiology, and ecology of common estuarine organisms was conducted in an attempt to develop probabilistic distributions for those variables that influence the uptake of xenobiotic chemicals from sediments, water, and food sources. The ranges, central tendencies, and distributions of several key parameter values were identified for dominant organisms from various trophic levels, including the polychaete Nereis virens, mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus), blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), and striped bass (Morone saxatilis). The exposure factors of interest included ingestion rate for various food sources, growth rate, respiration rate, excretion rate, body weight, wet/dry weight ratio, lipid content, chemical assimilation efficiency, and food assimilation efficiency. These exposure factors are critical to the execution of mechanistic food web models, which, when properly calibrated, can be used to estimate tissue concentrations of nonionic chemicals in aquatic organisms based on knowledge of the bioenergetics and feeding interactions within a food web and the sediment and water concentrations of chemicals. In this article the authors describe the use of distributions for various exposure factors in the context of a mechanistic bioaccumulation model that is amenable to probabilistic analyses for multiple organisms within a food web. A case study is provided which compares the estimated versus measured concentrations of five polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners in a representative food web from the tidal portion of the Passaic River, New Jersey, USA. The results suggest that the model is accurate within an order of magnitude or less in estimating the bioaccumulation of PCBs in this food web without calibration. The results of a model sensitivity analysis suggest that the input parameters which most influence the output of the model are both chemical and organism specific.

  5. The rapid return of marine-derived nutrients to a freshwater food web following dam removal

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tonra, Christopher M; Sager-Fradkin, Kimberly A.; Morley, Sarah A; Duda, Jeff; Marra, Peter P.

    2015-01-01

    Dam removal is increasingly being recognized as a viable river restoration action. Although the main beneficiaries of restored connectivity are often migratory fish populations, little is known regarding recovery of other parts of the freshwater food web, particularly terrestrial components. We measured stable isotopes in key components to the freshwater food web: salmon, freshwater macroinvertebrates and a river specialist bird, American dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), before and after removal of the Elwha Dam, WA, USA. Less than a year after dam removal, salmon returned to the system and released marine-derived nutrients (MDN). In that same year we documented an increase in stable-nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios in American dippers. These results indicate that MDN from anadromous fish, an important nutrient subsidy that crosses the aquatic–terrestrial boundary, can return rapidly to food webs after dams are removed which is an important component of ecosystem recovery.

  6. More than a meal: integrating non-feeding interactions into food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kéfi, Sonia; Berlow, Eric L.; Wieters, Evie A.; Navarrete, Sergio A.; Petchey, Owen L.; Wood, Spencer A.; Boit, Alice; Joppa, Lucas N.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Williams, Richard J.; Martinez, Neo D.; Menge, Bruce A.; Blanchette, Carol A.; Iles, Alison C.; Brose, Ulrich

    2012-01-01

    Organisms eating each other are only one of many types of well documented and important interactions among species. Other such types include habitat modification, predator interference and facilitation. However, ecological network research has been typically limited to either pure food webs or to networks of only a few (<3) interaction types. The great diversity of non-trophic interactions observed in nature has been poorly addressed by ecologists and largely excluded from network theory. Herein, we propose a conceptual framework that organises this diversity into three main functional classes defined by how they modify specific parameters in a dynamic food web model. This approach provides a path forward for incorporating non-trophic interactions in traditional food web models and offers a new perspective on tackling ecological complexity that should stimulate both theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding the patterns and dynamics of diverse species interactions in nature.

  7. Indicator species for limited budgets: Profiles of trophic levels, food web placement, and ecotoxicological sensitivity

    SciTech Connect

    Sorenson, M.T.; Margolin, J.A.

    1995-12-31

    The identification of indicator and/or keystone species is directly related to the success of a quantitative Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) at a hazardous waste site. In a fiscally perfect world, species would be selected to represent each and every trophic level within the aquatic and/or terrestrial food web. However, because limited budgets are the norm, scientifically valid ``shortcuts`` are in high demand. LAW has conducted quantitative ERAs at more than thirty hazardous waste sites, with as many as ten indicator species per site (selected to represent trophic levels within each habitat type present). Data from these assessments have been compiled and evaluated for the purpose of identifying species which demonstrate the highest toxicological sensitivity within the food web. Budgets can be reduced by incorporating this proposed quantitative screening-level ERA approach. This presentation will specify quantitative ERA methodology, ecotoxicological extrapolations, uncertainties to consider, trophic level profiles, food web placement, and indicator species sensitivity.

  8. US Food and Drug Administration Web Site: A Primer for Pharmacists.

    PubMed

    Leonard, James; Baker, Danial E

    2015-11-01

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site includes a vast amount of information, but it can be difficult to navigate. Despite frequently asked question (FAQ)-type pages within the Web site, it may not be easy for first-time users to find drug information. This article presents some examples of common questions, provides the locations of the answers on the FDA Web site, and gives a brief description of some of the many resources the FDA provides for health care professionals. Additionally, a newer project being undertaken by the FDA, Snapshot, is introduced. PMID:27621506

  9. Biomagnification of mercury in aquatic food webs: a worldwide meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Lavoie, Raphael A; Jardine, Timothy D; Chumchal, Matthew M; Kidd, Karen A; Campbell, Linda M

    2013-01-01

    The slope of the simple linear regression between log10 transformed mercury (Hg) concentration and stable nitrogen isotope values (δ(15)N), hereafter called trophic magnification slope (TMS), from several trophic levels in a food web can represent the overall degree of Hg biomagnification. We compiled data from 69 studies that determined total Hg (THg) or methyl Hg (MeHg) TMS values in 205 aquatic food webs worldwide. Hg TMS values were compared against physicochemical and biological factors hypothesized to affect Hg biomagnification in aquatic systems. Food webs ranged across 1.7 ± 0.7 (mean ± SD) and 1.8 ± 0.8 trophic levels (calculated using δ(15)N from baseline to top predator) for THg and MeHg, respectively. The average trophic level (based on δ(15)N) of the upper-trophic-level organisms in the food web was 3.7 ± 0.8 and 3.8 ± 0.8 for THg and MeHg food webs, respectively. For MeHg, the mean TMS value was 0.24 ± 0.08 but varied from 0.08 to 0.53 and was, on average, 1.5 times higher than that for THg with a mean of 0.16 ± 0.11 (range: -0.19 to 0.48). Both THg and MeHg TMS values were significantly and positively correlated with latitude. TMS values in freshwater sites increased with dissolved organic carbon and decreased with total phosphorus and atmospheric Hg deposition. Results suggest that Hg biomagnification through food webs is highest in cold and low productivity systems; however, much of the among-system variability in TMS values remains unexplained. We identify critical data gaps and provide recommendations for future studies that would improve our understanding of global Hg biomagnification. PMID:24151937

  10. Impacts of food web structure and feeding behavior on mercury exposure in Greenland Sharks (Somniosus microcephalus).

    PubMed

    McMeans, Bailey C; Arts, Michael T; Fisk, Aaron T

    2015-03-15

    Benthic and pelagic food web components in Cumberland Sound, Canada were explored as sources of total mercury (THg) to Greenland Sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) via both bottom-up food web transfer and top-down shark feeding behavior. Log10THg increased significantly with δ(15)N and trophic position from invertebrates (0.01 ± 0.01 μg · g(-1) [113 ± 1 ng · g(-1)] dw in copepods) to Greenland Sharks (3.54 ± 1.02 μg · g(-1)). The slope of the log10THg vs. δ(15)N linear regression was higher for pelagic compared to benthic food web components (excluding Greenland Sharks, which could not be assigned to either food web), which resulted from THg concentrations being higher at the base of the benthic food web (i.e., in benthic than pelagic primary consumers). However, feeding habitat is unlikely to consistently influence shark THg exposure in Cumberland Sound because THg concentrations did not consistently differ between benthic and pelagic shark prey. Further, size, gender and feeding behavior (inferred from stable isotopes and fatty acids) were unable to significantly explain THg variability among individual Greenland Sharks. Possible reasons for this result include: 1) individual sharks feeding as generalists, 2) high overlap in THg among shark prey, and 3) differences in turnover time between ecological tracers and THg. This first assessment of Greenland Shark THg within an Arctic food web revealed high concentrations consistent with biomagnification, but low ability to explain intra-specific THg variability. Our findings of high THg levels and consumption of multiple prey types, however, suggest that Greenland Sharks acquire THg through a variety of trophic pathways and are a significant contributor to the total biotic THg pool in northern seas.

  11. Intraspecific differences in plant chemotype determine the structure of arthropod food webs.

    PubMed

    Bálint, János; Zytynska, Sharon E; Salamon, Rozália Veronika; Mehrparvar, Mohsen; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Schmitz, Oswald J; Benedek, Klára; Balog, Adalbert

    2016-03-01

    It is becoming increasingly appreciated that the structure and functioning of ecological food webs are controlled by the nature and level of plant chemicals. It is hypothesized that intraspecific variation in plant chemical resistance, in which individuals of a host-plant population exhibit genetic differences in their chemical contents (called 'plant chemotypes'), may be an important determinant of variation in food web structure and functioning. We evaluated this hypothesis using field assessments and plant chemical assays in the tansy plant Tanacetum vulgare L. (Asteraceae). We examined food webs in which chemotypes of tansy plants are the resource for two specialized aphids, their predators and mutualistic ants. The density of the ant-tended aphid Metopeurum fuscoviride was significantly higher on particular chemotypes (borneol) than others. Clear chemotype preferences between predators were also detected. Aphid specialist seven-spotted ladybird beetles (Coccinella septempunctata) were more often found on camphor plants, while significantly higher numbers of the polyphagous nursery web spider (Pisaura mirabilis) were observed on borneol plants. The analysis of plant chemotype effects on the arthropod community clearly demonstrates a range of possible outcomes between plant-aphid-predator networks. The findings help to offer a deeper insight into how one important factor--plant chemical content--influences which species coexist within a food web on a particular host plant and the nature of their trophic linkages. PMID:26581421

  12. High-resolution food webs based on nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids.

    PubMed

    Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Steffan, Shawn A; Ogawa, Nanako O; Ishikawa, Naoto F; Sasaki, Yoko; Tsuchiya, Masashi; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2014-06-01

    Food webs are known to have myriad trophic links between resource and consumer species. While herbivores have well-understood trophic tendencies, the difficulties associated with characterizing the trophic positions of higher-order consumers have remained a major problem in food web ecology. To better understand trophic linkages in food webs, analysis of the stable nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids has been introduced as a potential means of providing accurate trophic position estimates. In the present study, we employ this method to estimate the trophic positions of 200 free-roaming organisms, representing 39 species in coastal marine (a stony shore) and 38 species in terrestrial (a fruit farm) environments. Based on the trophic positions from the isotopic composition of amino acids, we are able to resolve the trophic structure of these complex food webs. Our approach reveals a high degree of trophic omnivory (i.e., noninteger trophic positions) among carnivorous species such as marine fish and terrestrial hornets.This information not only clarifies the trophic tendencies of species within their respective communities, but also suggests that trophic omnivory may be common in these webs. PMID:25360278

  13. Intraspecific differences in plant chemotype determine the structure of arthropod food webs.

    PubMed

    Bálint, János; Zytynska, Sharon E; Salamon, Rozália Veronika; Mehrparvar, Mohsen; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Schmitz, Oswald J; Benedek, Klára; Balog, Adalbert

    2016-03-01

    It is becoming increasingly appreciated that the structure and functioning of ecological food webs are controlled by the nature and level of plant chemicals. It is hypothesized that intraspecific variation in plant chemical resistance, in which individuals of a host-plant population exhibit genetic differences in their chemical contents (called 'plant chemotypes'), may be an important determinant of variation in food web structure and functioning. We evaluated this hypothesis using field assessments and plant chemical assays in the tansy plant Tanacetum vulgare L. (Asteraceae). We examined food webs in which chemotypes of tansy plants are the resource for two specialized aphids, their predators and mutualistic ants. The density of the ant-tended aphid Metopeurum fuscoviride was significantly higher on particular chemotypes (borneol) than others. Clear chemotype preferences between predators were also detected. Aphid specialist seven-spotted ladybird beetles (Coccinella septempunctata) were more often found on camphor plants, while significantly higher numbers of the polyphagous nursery web spider (Pisaura mirabilis) were observed on borneol plants. The analysis of plant chemotype effects on the arthropod community clearly demonstrates a range of possible outcomes between plant-aphid-predator networks. The findings help to offer a deeper insight into how one important factor--plant chemical content--influences which species coexist within a food web on a particular host plant and the nature of their trophic linkages.

  14. High-resolution food webs based on nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids.

    PubMed

    Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Steffan, Shawn A; Ogawa, Nanako O; Ishikawa, Naoto F; Sasaki, Yoko; Tsuchiya, Masashi; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2014-06-01

    Food webs are known to have myriad trophic links between resource and consumer species. While herbivores have well-understood trophic tendencies, the difficulties associated with characterizing the trophic positions of higher-order consumers have remained a major problem in food web ecology. To better understand trophic linkages in food webs, analysis of the stable nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids has been introduced as a potential means of providing accurate trophic position estimates. In the present study, we employ this method to estimate the trophic positions of 200 free-roaming organisms, representing 39 species in coastal marine (a stony shore) and 38 species in terrestrial (a fruit farm) environments. Based on the trophic positions from the isotopic composition of amino acids, we are able to resolve the trophic structure of these complex food webs. Our approach reveals a high degree of trophic omnivory (i.e., noninteger trophic positions) among carnivorous species such as marine fish and terrestrial hornets.This information not only clarifies the trophic tendencies of species within their respective communities, but also suggests that trophic omnivory may be common in these webs.

  15. High-resolution food webs based on nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids

    PubMed Central

    Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Steffan, Shawn A; Ogawa, Nanako O; Ishikawa, Naoto F; Sasaki, Yoko; Tsuchiya, Masashi; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2014-01-01

    Food webs are known to have myriad trophic links between resource and consumer species. While herbivores have well-understood trophic tendencies, the difficulties associated with characterizing the trophic positions of higher-order consumers have remained a major problem in food web ecology. To better understand trophic linkages in food webs, analysis of the stable nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids has been introduced as a potential means of providing accurate trophic position estimates. In the present study, we employ this method to estimate the trophic positions of 200 free-roaming organisms, representing 39 species in coastal marine (a stony shore) and 38 species in terrestrial (a fruit farm) environments. Based on the trophic positions from the isotopic composition of amino acids, we are able to resolve the trophic structure of these complex food webs. Our approach reveals a high degree of trophic omnivory (i.e., noninteger trophic positions) among carnivorous species such as marine fish and terrestrial hornets.This information not only clarifies the trophic tendencies of species within their respective communities, but also suggests that trophic omnivory may be common in these webs. PMID:25360278

  16. Climate change - Agricultural land use - Food security

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nagy, János; Széles, Adrienn

    2015-04-01

    In Hungary, plougland decreased to 52% of its area by the time of political restructuring (1989) in comparison with the 1950s. Forested areas increased significantly (18%) and lands withdrawn from agricultural production doubled (11%). For today, these proportions further changed. Ploughlands reduced to 46% and forested areas further increased (21%) in 2013. The most significat changes were observed in the proportion of lands withdrawn from agricultural production which increased to 21%. Temperature in Hungary increased by 1°C during the last century and predictions show a further 2.6 °C increase by 2050. The yearly amount of precipitation significantly decreased from 640 mm to 560 mm with a more uneven temporal distribution. The following aspects can be considered in the correlation between climate change and agriculture: a) impact of agriculture on climate, b) future impact of climate change on agriculture and food supply, c) impact of climate change on food security. The reason for the significant change of climate is the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) which results from anthropological activities. Between 2008 and 2012, Hungary had to reduce its GHG emission by 6% compared to the base period between 1985-1987. At the end of 2011, Hungarian GHG emission was 43.1% lower than that of the base period. The total gross emission was 66.2 million CO2 equivalent, while the net emission which also includes land use, land use chan